India hopes to attract foreign direct investment of about $10 billion for the roads sector in the next two years, road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath said on in New Delhi Friday.
Speaking at an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, the minister said all impediments to foreign investment in the sector would be removed, adding that India was still an attractive destination for foreign investors.
He said that to make the change to building 20 km of roads a day from the current 2 km of roads a day, massive capacity building was needed. Nath said his ministry had formulated a work plan for the next two years aimed at achieving the goal of 7,000 km of road construction a year.
"There are some issues people have - in our concession agreement, documents. Some are valid, some are not so valid. I hope they will be addressed in the next one month ... there are some very serious concerns like the terminations clause. There are several such clauses which have to be addressed to make the roads sector investment-worthy," Nath said.
The minister gave assurances that the bidding process for National Highway Authority of India projects would go more smoothly than last time. Nath said that by the end of this year, Rs1,00,000 crore worth of bids should be received and work would start on 11,000 km of roads.
Speaking on the food situation in the country, Nath said that India had enough foodgrain stocks to counter even the worst monsoon scenario. Nath said it would be possible to gauge the impact of the poor monsoon only in the next two weeks.
He admitted that the income of rural people, most of who depend on agriculture for a livelihood, might be hit. "Whatever may be the assessment, poor monsoon may impact rural purchasing power but not food supply in the country," he observed.