People can soon invest in infra projects: Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari. File

Nitin Gadkari. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union government is awaiting approval of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for enabling common citizens to invest at least ₹1 lakh in infrastructure projects under a new model for asset monetisation, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.

“Most of the pension funds and foreign investors are investing in the projects. But we should take the cooperation of Indian people, particularly those who can invest minimum ₹1 lakh in road projects, for which we have already developed a new model. We are awaiting approval from SEBI so that the common man can invest in NHAI (National Highways Authority of India). We are trying to give him an assured income of 7.5% to 8%,” Mr. Gadkari said at the “Countdown to Budget 2022” event organised by The HinduBusinessLine , in association with BoB Financial, the credit card arm of Bank of Baroda, and Hitachi India.

“My interest is to give benefit to the poor people of this country, who can invest in their economy, because in India we have problems in pension, insurance and share economy. For that reason, if small people can invest in infrastructure and get 7.5% to 8% interest, it can be a great thing for them to contribute to infrastructure development and at the same time benefit from that,” the Minister said.

Speaking about the upcoming Union Budget, Mr. Gadkari said he was hopeful that the proposals will expedite the growth of the Indian economy to make it the largest economy in the world.

Advice to industry

Mr. Gadkari said that Indian industry and entrepreneurs should seize the opportunity arising from the “problems” facing China and “go for more exports” riding on the back of talent, availability of raw materials, power, and good infrastructure, to make the economy strong.

Stressing that agriculture was the “most important priority” of the government, he outlined several initiatives taken, which will create more jobs in rural, tribal and 120 aspiring districts.

Ethanol production

India’s ethanol production is currently 400 crore litres. This year, it’s likely to go up to 550 crore litres as against a basic requirement of 4,000 crore litres.

The government, Mr. Gadkari said, was working on biofuel and alternate fuel to save on India’s huge oil import bill, besides acting as a bulwark for the greening of the automobile industry.

Flex engines

“We have taken a decision to use flex engines in two, three and four wheelers,” Mr. Gadkari said. Flex engines can use petrol or bio ethanol, which will reduce the demand for petrol, he said, adding that automobile manufacturers are in a position to launch flex engine vehicles in the market.

The turnover of the automobile industry is ₹7.5 lakh crore, of which ₹3.5 lakh crore are exports. “Within five years, the size of this industry will grow to ₹15 lakh crore, and this is the industry which is giving the maximum employment potential and revenue to the States and Centre. So, this can be a great driving force behind the growth of India, and the automobile industry is the future. I am expecting the Indian automobile industry to become the No. 1 manufacturing hub in the world,” he said.

On vehicle scrappage, the Minister said that the country needs at least one scrapping centre in each district and two-three centres in some of districts.

The most important part of the scrapping policy is that it will reduce the import of aluminium and copper. “By scrapping, we can get steel, aluminium and copper at very low rates by which we can reduce the cost of components by 25-30%. That is a great advantage to Indian automobile industry,” Mr. Gadkari said.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 8:03:18 am |