President outlines government thrust on infrastructure

New Delhi, June 9: From a “sagar mala” or a chain on the sea, connecting India’s ports and then the hinterland, to an enabling groundwork for cheaper air travel to small cities, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday outlined a slew of projects to show the thrust the Narendra Modi government wishes to give to infrastructure development.

“Lack of robust infrastructure is one of India’s major impediments,” the president said during the course of his 55-minute address to the joint session of the two houses of parliament in the Central Hall. ”The government will chalk out an ambitious infrastructure development programme to be implemented in the next 10 years. A fast-track, investment friendly and predictable public-private-paertnership mechanism will be put in place,” he assured.

Among the projects and policies he listed were:

- A Diamond Quadrilateral Project of high-speed trains

- Freight corridors with specialised agri-rail networks for perishable farm products

- Higher investment in railways with innovative financing

- Expansion of railways in hilly states and northeast region

- Modernization of rail safety systems with prime focus

- Sagar Mala Project to connect sea ports with hinterland through road and rail

- Inland and coastal waterways for use as major transport routes

- New National Energy Policy with focus on development

- Expand the National Solar Mission

- Connect households and industries with gas-grids

- Reform coal sector with urgency to attract investment

- Operationalise international civil nuclear pacts

- Build 100 new cities with world class amenities

- Integrated infrastructure with focus on cleanliness and sanitation

- All-weather houses for every family in 10 years with all basic amenities

- Time-bound programme for national highways network

- Low-cost airports to promote air connectivity to smaller towns

- Develop coastlines as gateway for India’s prosperity

- Modernalisation of existing ports and development new world class ones.