Outlining the vision of the new government, President Pranab Mukherjee, in his address to the Joint Sitting of Parliament on June 9, announced that it will focus on constructing small airports, a Diamond Quadrilateral of high-speed trains and ‘Sagar Mala’ project to connect ports to the hinterland.
“Lack of robust infrastructure is one of India’s major impediments. The government will chalk out an ambitious infrastructure development programme to be implemented in the next 10 years,” The President said.
A “fast-track, investment friendly and predictable” public private partnership mechanism would be put in place for the purpose, with modernisation and revamping of the Railways being on top of the infrastructure agenda.
He said low cost airports would be developed to promote air connectivity to smaller towns. “My government will launch a Diamond Quadrilateral project of high speed trains. The country will have a network of freight corridors with specialised Agri-Rail networks for perishable agricultural products. Investment in railways will be increased using innovative financing methods,” he said.
Expansion of railways in the hilly states and the Northeast region, and modernisation of rail safety systems would be the prime focus areas, Mukherjee said, adding that R&D and high-level local manufacturing for railway systems would be encouraged.
A fast, time-bound and well monitored programme for execution of the National Highways programme would also be initiated to overcome the stagnancy of the past few years. “The government will evolve a model of Port-led development. Our long coastline will become the gateway for India’s prosperity,” the President added.
He promised that the government would modernise existing ports, on one hand, and develop new world-class ports, on the other. “Stringing together the Sagar Mala project, we will connect the ports with the hinterland through road and rail. Inland and coastal waterways will be developed as major transport routes,” he said.