NEW DELHI: The government is planning to offer smaller bundles of road projects under the toll-operate-transfer (TOT) model as part of its asset monetisation plan in a bid to attract smaller investors, minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said.

Gadkari’s ministry is actively scouting for ways to encourage private participation in the sector.

“Now we have decided that we will tender smaller bundles of maybe one or two projects so that even small investors can participate,” Gadkari told ET on the sidelines of India-Singapore Symposium organised by CII here on Thursday.

“We will sell the project (to private players), but maintenance will be our responsibility,” Gadkari added.

The national highways building authority last week invited bids for the third bundle of TOT auctions, looking to raise a minimum of Rs 4,995 crore. The highways ministry is tweaking the model after its second round of TOT auctions received tepid response from investors.

Gadkari also said he is in talks with the finance ministry regarding new modes of funding. “For any large investors, who want to come to India and invest here, they can form a joint venture with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). There is no concern around the credibility of NHAI,” he said.

Talking about the ministry of small and micro enterprises (MSME), of which he has been given additional charge, Gadkari said he will encourage creation of industrial parks for the MSME sector, and also issue a policy on import substitution. Gadkari said the MSME industry has huge potential for promoting manufacturing in India.

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Gadkari said his topmost priority as the MSME minister is to create jobs in the sector. “I think Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave me charge of MSME so that I can increase the employment opportunity in the sector,” he said.



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