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Press release on the visit of Mr Kamal Nath, Minister of Road Transport & Highways to US

Washington, DC
April 8, 2010

Minister of Road Transport & Highways Mr Kamal Nath visited New York from 6th to 8th April 2010. The main objective of the visit was to interact with the US business community to encourage them to participate in India’s infrastructure development in the Road sector through financing, capacity building and supply of advanced technology, services and equipment. 

On 6th and 7th April Minister spoke at two events to groups of CEOs and senior executives representing a mix of US finance, consultancy and investment companies as well as construction and equipment firms. He informed the audience about the tremendous opportunities generated by the resurgence of the Indian economy. He said, “The real potential of India’s growth can be understood only if the median national age of 25 years and the prospective rise in disposable incomes of rural India are superimposed on the strong macro-fundamentals of the economy”. He said that the Infrastructure Deficit was the principal challenge that had to be overcome to unleash this potential and the Government was attaching the highest priority to this area. 

Speaking of the gaps in the roads and highways network, the Minister said, “We are not building roads for tomorrow, we are catching up with the past.” He pointed out that through roads, economic activity could be generated in remote rural areas and the Government of India had launched the largest rural roads programme fifteen years ago. The Roads & Highway Ministry was now adopting a ‘stretch by stretch’ approach to bring about connectivity of rural and district roads with the national highways. It was also focusing on technology and capacity building and the Minister urged US companies to collaborate in these fields.

On 7th April, the Minister also addressed a press conference and delivered a lecture in the “Distinguished Persons’ lecture Series” at the Consulate General of India in New York. The large audience appreciated Minister Nath’s wide-ranging remarks on emergence of world’s largest young and aspirational society in India which made it imperative that the infrastructure challenges be met speedily and effectively.

On 8th April, the Minister gave the keynote address at the Global Construction Summit 2010 on “Investing in India’s Infrastructure”. To the large audience representing major construction and investment companies from all over the world, the Minister spoke about India’s plans to achieve a ‘quantum jump’ in the road sector and invited foreign companies to participate in this mega-initiative. He told the over-300 strong gathering about the essentially domestic demand-driven growth of India and said, “ India’s growth does not threaten, it beckons”.