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Infrastructure to get big boost: Kalam

June 07, 2004 12:55 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam said addressing a joint session of Parliament said the United Progressive Alliance government would boost infrastructure development, through increased investment in roads, ports, airports and power and said it would aim to achieve energy security for the country through acquisition of oil properties abroad.

Govt will aim for 7-8% growth: Kalam

"Development of infrastructure will get a high priority. Public-private partnerships will be encouraged for expansion of physical infrastructure such as roads, ports, airports, power, railways, water supply and sanitation," Kalam said.

Public investment in infrastructure will be enhanced and subsidies in such investments will be explicitly provided through the Budget.

The government would put in place policies to enhance the country's energy security with special emphasis on petroleum and natural gas, he said.

"Overseas investments in the hydrocarbon industry will be actively encouraged," he added.

India, which is 70 per cent import-dependent to meet its oil requirement, has already acquired stake in oil and gas fields in nine nations till now.

A special programme will be launched to ensure that each household has full access to reliable power and public investment in the power sector will be stepped up substantially, he said.

Private sector participation in power generation and its distribution would be actively encouraged. "Power sector reforms will be continued in such a way that each section of the society gets quality power at affordable price."

Energy conservation will receive priority, he added.

Railways, the President said, had suffered immensely over the past few years with rail safety being a prime casualty.

"The government will move purposefully to modernise the vast railway network, keeping both the economic and social dimensions of the railways in mind."

Development of infrastructure in rural areas would get the government's utmost priority.

"A substantial portion of government's investment will be channeled to the villages, with special emphasis on improving basic infrastructure such as roads, power and drinking water in rural areas," Kalam said.

Connectivity of village complexes for providing economic opportunities to all segments of people will get special emphasis to bridge the rural-urban divide. "Let us not have a mindset that poorer quality rural infrastructure or poor products would suffice for rural consumption," he said.

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