Infrastructure investment target set to drop by 20 pc


India's ambitious target to invest $1 trillion to boost its infrastructure over the next five years is expected to be cut by at least 20 per cent, a move forced by slowing economic growth and a failure to meet investment targets in the sector by a similar 20 per cent in the last five years.

The $1 trillion figure was set as the target for the 12th five-year plan period of 2012-13 to 2017-18. It is to be used for everything — from building roads, bridges and airports to overcoming chronic power shortages. But government officials tasked with drawing up the five-year plans said the target is unlikely to be realised.

The new number is expected to be at least 20 per cent lower at about $800 billion as investments, especially in sectors such as oil and gas, urban infrastructure and ports and telecom are expected to be far lower than earlier projections. The lower projections will also force banks and others to make corrections in the loans they can provide for the sector in the next few years.

The other reason for the revision is that the 11th plan has itself fallen short of the anticipated infrastructure investment. Instead of the $500 billion that was expected, the plan is likely to end with $100 billion less, although this was the most buoyant phase of growth of the Indian economy.

The revised estimate will be part of the final 12th plan document to be reported to the meeting of the National Development Council in September. The council membership includes all chief ministers and the union cabinet and is the final authority for the adoption of each five-year plan.

While even at $800 billion (about Rs 40,00,000 crore) the pace of investment is seen as sizable, officials said that there was an element of excitement associated with the figure of $1 trillion as a benchmark.

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