Business Standard: March 26, 2015
New Delhi: The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday gave its approval to enact a legislation to declare 101 inland waterways as national waterways for navigation. This is to create a logistic supply chain with intermodal (rail, road and waterways) connectivity, according to a release.
The move is expected to contribute to the gross domestic product by opening up business opportunities in the areas of dredging, barge construction, barge operation, terminal construction, terminal operation, storage facilities and tourist cruise.
“Investment in all these business areas will create numerous opportunities for employment and economic development and reduce pressure from the already-overloaded, congested and costlier other surface modes of transport,” the statement noted.
In a related development, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said the government was looking at infusing $140 billion into the rail sector to turn around the operational and financial position of the Indian Railways. Speaking at The Growth Net , an annual business event, here on Wednesday, he said infrastructure re-conditioning with investments starting from the public sector was on the government’s agenda.
On the need to beef up private-sector investments, Prabhu said India needs a proper policy framework for public private partnership (PPP). He added since the private sector has been hesitant towards investment, the public sector needs to kick off investments.
On Wednesday, the rail ministry also announced setting up of a committee under Ajay Shankar, former secretary of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, to revive the ministry’s PPP cell to review the government’s efforts on implementing PPP projects in railways.
The announcement comes days after a similar committee was set up under Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, to recommend ways to boost innovation in railways’ systems and practices.
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