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Kamal Nath takes charge of road transport and highways ministry news
29 May 2009

India's new transport minister Kamal Nath told a conference in the capital that India needed to rework its regulatory policy framework for road infrastructure.

"Old regulatory framework needs to be looked in a new way," he said.

The resurgent Indian economy which had been growing close to 9 per cent in the recent past has slowed down in wake of the global economic crisis registering a six-year low of 6.7 per cent in the year to March 2009. It is expected slow down further to 6 per cent in the current fiscal.

Nath in his second UPA term takes up the Road Transport and Highways portfolio, an area that has remained neglected in the past five years.

During his earlier term Nath connected successfully with  global audiences in Geneva at World Trade  Organisation conferences and in picturesque Swiss locales for World Economic Forum meets among other assignments. He projected India as an emerging economic power on the lines of the asian tiger economies.

His global assignments, however, have evidently not come in the way of his connect Chhindwara, a backward, predominantly tribal constituency in Madhya Pradesh from which he has been elected as many as eight times.

Apart from international trade negotiations, Nath has been busy advocating special economic zones to spur manufacturing. SEZs have generated much controversy as these designated duty free enclaves operate as virtual foreign territories for trade operations. Parties in government have run into problems over land acquisition issues, besides the Finance and Commerce Ministries have also had occasions to clash over revenue flows from SEZs.

Earlier Kamal Nath said he was excited about his new portfolio as he was looking forward to a challenge which has got.

He denied that he was upset over the fact that even after being sworn in as cabinet minister, his portfolio was not known for several days.

Nath, who was among the high-profile ministers in his previous role as Commerce and Industry minister, was allocated the portfolio of Road Transport and Highways in the second UPA term yesterday.

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Kamal Nath takes charge of road transport and highways ministry