Indirectly admitting that corruption is rampant in awarding contracts for the development of highways, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that transparency in awarding such projects is essential to prevent malfeasance.
"It is necessary to demonstrate that the award of highway projects, as well as their construction and operation, is based on a fair and transparent approach which eliminates any suspicion of favouritism or what might be described as crony capitalism," he told a conference on public-private partnership (PPP) in building national highways in New Delhi.
He further told the conference, organised by the ministry of road transport and highways along with the Planning Commission, that "Efficiency, economy, competition and transparency are vital touchstones that should be used for judging our level of success."
"These factors are especially important when we deal with the private sector. We must remember that these are public projects where public interest must be foremost in our mind," he said.
The government plans to double investment in infrastructure projects to $1 trillion (Rs4,64,7,000 crore) in its attempt to achieve a GDP growth rate of 9 per cent during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).
"It goes without saying that it seems a very challenging task, but I am convinced that our economy has the resilience to live up to challenges that lie ahead," Singh said.
Addressing the same function, minister for road transport and highways C P Joshi said contracts for laying over 7,300 km of road will be awarded by the end of current financial year.