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Need to develop physical, social infrastructure stressed

Special Correspondent

Programmes under public-private partnership sought

— Photo: R. Ragu

Conscious revival:From Right: Rajeev Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries, P. Murari, Advisor to FICCI president, Andrew T. Simkin, U.S. Consul-General, and Ajit Singh, Singapore Consul-General, at a programme on infrastructure in Chennai on Friday.

CHENNAI: Speakers at a conference on infrastructure, ‘Infra Vision 2011,' organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), stressed the need for developing both physical and social infrastructure.

P. Murari, Advisor to FICCI president, said infrastructure development held the key to industrial development of any country. Generally, the government sector did not give much importance to the development of social infrastructure such as housing, health, education and recreational facilities.

In order to create both physical and social infrastructures, any state will need programmes under public-private partnership. Inland waterways played an important role in infrastructure development and it should be revived in the country, as was done in Singapore, he added.

Andrew T. Simkin, U.S. Consul-General in Chennai, said India could take the help of the United States in the field of agriculture and on how to reduce wastage of food, as the US practised more efficient farm sector methods. Similarly, in the retail sector too, the U.S. model could be adopted, where the retailers have created a successful network. In India, such a network has not been created and, yet, a complex system prevailed, he said.

Policy makers in India were conscious of the need to improve infrastructure, said Ajit Singh, Singapore's Consul General in Chennai. In 2005, India invested about four per cent of its GDP in infrastructure, and now the figure is almost 10 per cent of the GDP.

In Singapore, there was an active private-public partnership programme for infrastructure, with government playing a role in project payment mechanism to mitigate the private sector risk, he added.

Rajeev Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries, said more attention should be paid to development of social infrastructure.

Lack of proper documentation system had resulted in queuing up of vehicles outside the Port Trust, said Chennai Port Trust chairman Atulya Misra. In his opinion, more dry ports needed to be developed.

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