Infra sector lags

Several infrastructure sectors, led by roads, have failed to meet the targets set for April-October 2010, a government report has revealed. While ports, coal and electricity sectors have missed their targets, the biggest gap is in case of roads, where the deficit is 26.5%. According to the report prepared by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, against the ministry’s resolve under Kamal Nath to accelerate highway development, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) widened or upgraded only 859.93 km of roads, against a target of 1,168.97 km. The progress was 33% lower than 1,283 km achieved during the corresponding period last year. The next biggest shortfall is seen in the shipping sector, where the cargo handled was 8.8% lower than the target of 351 million tonnes for April-October. While overall goods traffic carried by railways was 516.91 million tonnes, 1.9% lower than the target set for the period, major ports handled cargo around 30 million tonnes less than what was expected. It seems the fight over ‘go’ and ‘no-go’ areas is making its impact on coal production, which can hit other sectors too. Coal production was 7.3% lower than the target set for the period and actual production was down by 21.65 MT against the target. Overall power generation during April-October 2010 was 480.234 billion units, 2.5% lower than the target for the period, according to the report card. Another area of concern is fertilizer production, which was 5.7% below the target. While crude oil production was 0.7% below the target, the production of natural gas was 1.1% below the benchmark set by the petroleum ministry. Sriprakash Jaiswal, the statistics and programme implementation minister, said, “The report has reflected the sectors which need immediate course correction for overall higher economic growth. “Shortfall in coal production is potentially a serious issue. There is a large shortfall from the private sector. Coal India has also fallen short-—they only managed 4.5% growth against their target of 6%,” said Pronab Sen, adviser in the Planning Commission. He said the shortfall in roads was already known. There are large investments going into the roads sector so the multiplier effect of all the investments will only add to growth, he added. Sen said the slowdown in the port sector reflected the performance of the trade segment. “We have not reached the precrisis level of growth in exports and that is being reflected in the ports data,” he said.

No comments: