Infrastructure investment in 11th Plan to be close to $500 bn: Montek

The Planning Commission on Monday said investment in the infrastructure sector in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2007-12) will be close to the target of $500 billion, thanks to a better-than-expected show by the telecom sector.

“It does look as if we will achieve (investment in infrastructure sector) not fully, but very close to USD 500 billion…This will be primarily because of over achievement in telecom,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said ahead of the government-sponsored meet on infrastructure, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Commission had set a $500 billion target of investment in the infrastructure sector during the Eleventh Plan Period.

GDP

Replying to questions on growth prospects during the Eleventh Plan, Mr. Ahluwalia said it was likely to be 8.5 per cent in the next fiscal 2010-11 and nine per cent during 2011-12, the last year of the Eleventh Plan.

Following the global crisis, the growth rate during 2008-09 slipped to 6.7 per cent from over nine per cent during the three preceding years. It is estimated to be 7.2 per cent during the current fiscal.

The growth target for the plan period will be considered at a meeting of the full Planning Commission scheduled tomorrow evening chaired by the Prime Minister.

For the Eleventh Plan, the Commission had set a growth target of 9 per cent, which is not likely to be achieved mainly because of the impact of the global crisis on the country’s growth.

Infrastructure

Referring to the developments in the infrastructure sector, Mr. Ahluwalia said telecom sector has been doing exceedingly well and the performance would overshoot the target, both in urban and rural areas.

As far as the road sector is concerned, he said, the contracts for building 4,000 km would be awarded during the current fiscal, which would be twice the number of contracts given in the preceding two years.

Contracts for constructing 7,000 km roads are likely to be awarded during 2010-11, he said, adding the initial problems with regard to concession agreements have been sorted and the private investors have started showing interest in the sector.

One area which has not been doing as well as the other sectors is the port, Mr. Ahluwalia added.

The Plan panel chief further said the power sector, in terms of capacity addition, would do better than the Tenth Plan.

“We think we have a good chance to add 62,000 MW of capacity during the Eleventh Plan period, this could be more if very special efforts are made, but we are not taking credit for that,” Mr. Ahulwalia said.

“We think 62,000 is definitely lower than the target of 78,000 MW, but it is almost three time of what was actually created (21,000 MW) in the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-07),” he said.

He pointed out, “It is the private sector capacity addition which exceeds target. The capacity expansion in private sector would be 120 per cent of the target whereas it would below the target in the public sector.”

The full Plan panel meeting tomorrow will also consider and approve the mid-term appraisal of the Eleventh Plan, the official sources said.

The approval of the mid-term appraisal is significant as after the full Plan panel’s nod, it would go to the National Development Council. The Council is expected to meet next month, sources said.

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