Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has expressed confidence that the crucial GST bill will be passed in the coming Monsoon session of Parliament as he touted the various reform measures implemented by the government to boost economic growth and attract billions of dollars of foreign investment and technical expertise across sectors.
“GST is the most important issue and I am confident that in the coming session of the Parliament we will pass the bill as a lot of parties are supporting it,” Gadkari said on Wednesday at a press conference organised at the Indian Consulate during the last day of his visit to the city.
The Minister for Roads and Highways said the Narendra Modi government has been taking various measures to implement economic reforms and to create an investor-friendly environment in the country.
Gadkari, who is on a week-long official visit to the US, said the government is focussed on economic and administrative reforms as well as fast-tracking the decision making process to boost economic development.
The procedures for getting environment and forest clearance for various infrastructure and development projects has also been fast-tracked, he added.
“The way the decision-making process is now moving, there will be no doubts in the minds of people including investors. The country’s image has changed and foreign investors are very much interested in investing in India,” he said.
Gadkari had a series of interactions with a large number of investors at global financial giants JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs earlier on Wednesday.
He said the response of investors has been “very positive” and they showed keen interest to invest in India.
Arriving from Washington on Tuesday, Gadkari had toured the New York City and State Departments of Transportation and meet officials to understand the intelligent traffic system\ that uses information technology for improving traffic management and which he said he plans to implement in India’s metro cities.
Later in the day, he participated in an industry interaction organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council for International Understanding.
Additional Secretary, Shipping Alok Srivastava and Joint Secretary, Highways Rohit Singh made a detailed presentation on the maritime and highways sector in India, outlining the various investment opportunities and the measures taken by the government to ensure ease of doing business for investors.
The meet was attended by senior executives, experts, analysts and investors from a large number of organisations including the Ford Foundation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Department of Transportation, Reliance Industries and S&P Global.
“Our government’s highest priority is for development of infrastructure in the country,” Gadkari told the investors adding that the infrastructure projects being undertaken are “economically viable”.
He said the government is building 20 km of road per day and has set an ambitious target of constructing 40kms of new road per day by next year. At 5.23 million km, India has the world’s second largest road network. Of this the National Highways comprise a mere 0.1 million km or two per cent of the total road network that carry about 40 per cent of the road traffic.
Gadkari said the government plans to take up the aggregate National Highway length in the country to 0.2 million km in phases.
He said the government has also taken decision to make mandatory the Euro 6 emission norms from April 2020.
“Today there is a good atmosphere. All economic parameters of our country are good. There is an opportunity for all of you to invest in India,” he said.
According to officials, Gadkari has envisaged USD 50-60 billion FDI for infrastructure and another USD 100 billion towards industrial development for port-led economic growth in the maritime sector and inland waterways, water transport, coastal and cruise shipping, solar and wind energy generation to further boost the country’s growth momentum.
Gadkari will leave for St Louis to understand Inland Waterways system on the world famous Mississippi river by undertaking a boat trip.
On the next leg of his visit to San Francisco, Gadkari will have talks with senior officials from the California Transportation Agency and departments of International Affairs and business development. He will also visit manufacturer of quality electric cars Tesla and hold a meeting with investors and interact with TiE Charter members over dinner.