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.

Advertisements

‘Prices of farm products to go up’

 

10 p.c. average rate of price rise likely to continue, says Plan panel member

Prices of pulses, vegetables and fruits may peak as they are in short supply

‘Prices of rice and wheat to be comfortable as the country has enough stocks’


HYDERABAD: Planning Commission member Abhijet Sen has expected prices of primary agricultural commodities to go up due to large inflationary trends caused by adverse seasonal conditions in the last few months.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a national conference on agricultural marketing here on Thursday, Mr. Sen said the average rate of increase in the prices of agricultural commodities for sometime had been around 10 per cent. The same trend could continue in the coming months even though the worst was over.

Mr. Sen also expected the prices of pulses, vegetables and fruits to peak as they were in short supply. “There will be speculation in the market for these products. The ability of the governments to manage their market will come under sharp focus.” However, the prices of rice and wheat would be comfortable because the country had enough stocks, he added.

Adverse season

He regretted that the management of prices of primary agricultural commodities was disturbed due to general elections though the first signs of adverse season ahead were available in June.

Quoting the Agriculture Ministry, he said there would be 12 to 13 per cent decline in agricultural output across the country this year.

The paddy production would be lower by 15 million tonnes and other food grains by 21 one million tonnes. Except cotton, there would be lower production in all principal crops.

Inaugurating the conference earlier, Mr. Sen said India was insulated by shocks of massive increase and sharp fall subsequently in commodity prices of global markets in 2007 and 2008. The developments had great impact all over the world, particularly developing and food importing countries.

India’s constraint

Former Indian Ambassador to Kazakhstan S.R. Hashim said India’s inexperience in marketing and finance was a constraint to development of its agriculture beyond a point. Director of Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture B. Venkateswarlu said research at the institute showed that jatropha was not economically viable as a bio-fuel because its harvesting was labour driven.

National project status: Rosaiah writes to Centre

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah. File Photo: P.V. Sivakumar

 

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah. File Photo: P.V. Sivakumar
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah has appealed to the Union government to expedite formal Union Cabinet approval according national project status to Polavaram project and Pranahita-Chevella project.

 

In a letter to Union Minister for Water Resources P. K. Bansal on Friday, Mr. Rosaiah said that a formal approval of the Union Cabinet for Polavaram as a national project would pave way for its completion within the stipulated time.

PM’s package

Referring to Mr. Bansal’s letter that only one intra-State project would be funded from a State under category of national project, Mr. Rosaiah recalled that the Pranahita-Chevella project was among the 25 medium and major irrigation projects included in the Prime Minister’s package and thus eligible for AIBP support.

The then Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz had indicated that all the irrigation projects included under PM’s package would be eligible for AIBP support. As budgetary allocation might have been made by the Ministry accordingly for Pranahita-Chevella, funds should not become a reason for denying it national project status.

Emphasising the importance of according national status project to Pranahita-Chevella, Mr. Rosaiah said it would cover seven drought-prone and backward districts of Telangana region largely inhabited by Scheduled Tribes.

He also drew the Minister’s attention to the fact that the proposals were already under submission to the Centre for obtaining investment clearance from the Planning Commission and other statutory approvals.