Addressing the Inaugural Session of the CII National Conference on Roads Infrastructure: Creating Demand-Stimulating Growth, organized by CII on 25 March 2021, the Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport & Highways, and MSME, Mr Nitin Gadkari said, “Every rupee spent on infrastructure translates to 2.5-rupee growth in the economy.  It is our firm belief that increased investment in infrastructure would not only create demand in the economy but also and more importantly it would make growth sustainable, equitable and inclusive.”  He further added that Ministry of Road Transport and Highways aims to increase the pace of construction of highways from 35 km per day at present to 40 km per day soon.   The Ministry also plans to raise Rs 1 lakh Cr by monetizing toll roads and use the fund for further development of road infrastructure.

He said that in the larger interest of the nation, there was a need to take the load of traffic off-the-road.  At present 85 percent of transit is through the roads.  Government is making efforts to increase traffic shares of Inland waterways, Rail and Air to balance the flow and expand mobility.  The Minister also mentioned about the Government’s focus on alternate fuels and investment in Li-ion, Hydrogen technology. The automobile sector currently contributes 7.5 lakh crore to the GDP which could up to Rs. 10 lakh crore leveraging alternative fuel and clean fuel technology which has huge potential to create jobs.   He insisted that there is a need for private sector to invest in R&D.

Representing CII, Mr Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, CII National Council on Infrastructure and Chairman, Feedback Infra made three poignant suggestions; Firstly, use Blockchain technology for bringing in transparency in submission and tracking of invoices; second, use Surety Bonds as an alternate to Bank Guarantees (BGs), and third, have a highway rating mechanism on certain parameters such as driveway quality, amenities, safety, etc, by a professional agency and link it with incentives / disincentives to toll operator.

Speaking at the Session, Mr Deepak Shetty, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, JCB India spoke about the optimistic growth that the construction equipment sector has seen and said India needs to continue to invest in technology to maximise the potential this sector can bring in. He also emphasized on the need for sustainable development of the construction sector.

Chairing the Inaugural Session, Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII appreciated the efforts of the government of India to build a world class infrastructure in the country.  He highlighted several initiatives, including launch of National Infrastructure Pipeline of Rs 111 lakh cr; Asset Monetisation Programme and a dashboard for tracking the progress to provide visibility to investors, setting up a development finance institution, etc. as an example of Government unflinching commitment to build a highly efficient and cost effective infrastructure in the country.  He further stated that investment of this magnitude offers a huge opportunity in terms of embellishing demand, generating jobs and laying a foundation for creating an

Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Also, speaking at the Session were Mr Sudhir Rao Hoshing, Joint Managing Director, IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd and Mr Krishna Prakash Maheshwari, CEO, Adani Road Transport Ltd.