06/07/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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Manmohan Singh: new infrastructures to jumpstart India's economy

PM pledges one trillion dollars in highways, ports and airports over five years. He wants to attract new investments and boost voters' support ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - India will build new highways, ports, airports and other infrastructures to kick-start the country's economy. "In these difficult times, we must do everything possible to revive investment and business sentiment, both public and private," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

After years of great expansion, 2012 began uphill for India. The economy grew at the slowest rate since 2003 in the first three months of 2012, because of a widening trade gap and poor investment.

Plans should come into effect in this fiscal year and be completed by 2017 with about US$ 1 trillion infrastructure spending.

Projects include 9,500 km in new roads, three new airports in Navi Mumbai, Goa and Kannur. Five airports in Lucknow, Varanasi, Coimbatore, Trichy and Gaya are to be upgraded to international standard. Two new aviation hubs are planned to make India a major transit point. Two new ports should be built in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

"The challenge now is to work together to achieve these targets, and deal with all the bottlenecks that may come in the way," Singh explained.

"I would urge all the ministries to go the extra mile in implementing what we have planned," he said. "I would expect them to very expeditiously resolve any inter-ministerial differences or turf battles that might arise."

Singh's government is facing one of its most challenging periods since taking office in 2004 as it grapples with a trade deficit, elevated inflation, a budget shortfall and corruption scandals.

The hope is that these plans will attract new investments and boost support for the government ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections.

 

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