BUSINESS

‘U.S. investors keen on Indian road, port sectors’

Nitin Gadkari  

The mood among U.S. investors is highly positive towards Indian road and port infrastructure sector, and the negative remarks about the country’s investment climate in a recent report of the U.S. State Department would have no impact on investment flow, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said.

The minister is in the U.S. to woo investors to the Indian highway and port sectors that he is in charge of. Mr. Gadkari said he would also look for ways to adopt the latest U.S. technologies in road safety, highway construction, and waterways management. “Though India has also been making progress in technology, we can learn a lot from the U.S.,” the minister told The Hindu .

Negative report

That the NDA-led government has not delivered the reforms it promised two years ago is a recurring complaint among U.S. policymakers and investors. The State Department Investment Climate Statements recently echoed this sentiment. Asked for a response on the report, Mr. Gadkari limited it to his own ministry and himself: “If check our track record, it is the best in the country’s history. From investments in road construction to project implementation, all are moving very fast. The next year, ending in March, 12 major ports and the Shipping Corporation will have more than Rs.6,000 crore in profits. (The) total atmosphere has changed. I am very much confident that people are eager to invest in Indian road and port sectors.”

‘Delivered as promised’

Asked whether the perception that the government had made promises but failed to deliver them was correct, Mr. Gadkari said: “In India, no one will ask me this question. Because, people are appreciating the work of the ministry. As far I am concerned, I never give false promises. Whatever I have promised, I have delivered.”

Responding to concerns among U.S. investors that the government could not push through changes in the land acquisition law, the minister said it was no longer a roadblock for infrastructure development. “Land acquisition is not an issue in India. 403 projects with the NHAI had faced land-related issues when we took over. The cabinet took 21 decisions to deal with the situation, which is now totally changed. There are only 20-25 projects that still face some land related problem. We have deposited Rs.20,000 crore with State governments to speed up land acquisition,” Mr. Gadkari said., adding that on the Prime Minister’s specific instructions, the ministry has advanced deadlines for two bypasses in India to 400 days. “We are working day and night to complete the projects.”