Special Correspondent

Thomas Isaac addresses CII meet

Rs.5,000 crore set apart for infrastructure projects in the current year

Capital expenditure to be raised from 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent of GDP

KOCHI: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said that private participation in infrastructure projects is important. Projects such as North-South fast track corridor, four-lane conversion of major roads, fast track train service could be considered for such participation, he said. He was addressing a meeting of members of southern regional council of Confederation of Indian Industry here on Saturday.

The Minister said the government was keen on investing in infrastructure projects. An amount of Rs.5000 crore has been set apart for infrastructure projects in the current year. An equal amount was envisaged for development works by the local body for completion of unfinished projects and sanctioning new ones. Capital expenditure would be raised from 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent of GDP. He pointed out that the State’s borrowing limits were fixed by the Centre.

The State government was trying to convert the economic crisis evolving out of the slowdown into an opportunity. Though there was excess liquidity in the system, investors were unwilling to borrow. The State, he said, would borrow and invest in infrastructure. Investment was required in development of new airports and seaports, Malabar tourism and drinking water projects. In Kerala, the public-private participation could incorporate people also, making it a PPP mode.

Interacting with the CII members, he said the government was trying to overcome the delay associated with administrative sanctions. He said education could not be considered as an avenue for earning revenue. The role of private sector in education was a debatable issue, he said. The Minister also launched the cluster development programme of CII in Kottayam.