Global Economy

ET Awards 2018: What the central ministers have to say on India's current economic and political scenario

The Union government will fully support infrastructure investments and projects, give a big push to domestic manufacturing in defence, and has grand plan to give Indians world-class services ranging from bullet trains to Venice-like waterways, leading cabinet ministers for railways, transport and defence said.

At the glittering ET Awards ceremony in Mumbai, Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman exuded confidence. Goyal said that a comprehensive nationwide survey, by an agency that correctly predicted the BJP’s 2014 victory, suggests that the ruling party on its own will get about 300 seats.

Gadkari highlighted the issue problems in road projects getting proper access to funds and said action was needed to resolve the issue as massive road projects were involved. He said the government had made rapid strides in improving infrastructure, which included waterways that made transportation dramatically cheaper.

Goyal said the government was committed to support industries and people that had build infrastructure in the country. He also said the government was successfully taking steps to end the acute shortage of coal in the country.

He said coal production has slowed down because at one stage there were huge stocks lying at pitheads and companies were not building adequate stocks as they expected uninterrupted supply to continues, but adverse conditions such as rainfall choked supply.

He said import of coal would continue, but that was partly because the previous government had given licenses to power plants that can run only on imported coals. He said the previous government could not imagine that India’s coal output could grow at 10% a year.

Goyal also blamed a previous regime for ensuring heavy overloading of wagons, which improved profitability but severely damaged the tracks. However, with heavy investment, which in the past four years was 2.5 times what was invested in the previous five, the railways was rapidly improving. He said India would have no unmanned railway crossing after a few weeks.

The defence minister said the government was giving a big push to the make-in-India initiative when it comes to placing large orders. She said companies had been given major orders. Sitharaman also said that the previous government had placed no orders and was not used to transparent systems of the current regime, which has prompted the Opposition party to hope that some allegation would stick.


On the Rafale deal, the minister said she was very confident that the opposition’s allegations would fall flat. She also said that she was comfortable that the matter was before the judiciary.

Sitharaman said economy and development would be major issues in next year’s general elections because the common man had gained significantly from initiatives to support farmers, improve financial inclusion, efforts to electrify every household and help women by supplying clean cooking fuel.


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