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The use of larger vessels, construction of new ports, an increased focus on coastal shipping, inland transportation and government support are likely to drive demand for both capital and maintenance dredging
The Indian government's plan of constructing new ports and expanding existing ones to support an expected increase in traffic is likely to create a huge demand for capital and maintenance dredging in the country, a top government official has said.
"The use of larger vessels, construction of new ports, an increased focus on coastal shipping, inland transportation and government support are likely to drive the demand for both capital and maintenance dredging," Union shipping ministry's secretary, K Mohandas, told PTI on the sidelines of the SMP World Expo 2010, held in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Citing a report from the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP), out of the total port development expenditure of Rs55,800 crore, the expenditure earmarked for the dredging of all major Indian ports by FY12 is estimated at Rs6,300 crore, he said.
Moreover, as the country is expected to become a trade hub going forward, an effective port infrastructure is likely to play a vital role in determining the volume of export-import trade, he said. "With India expected to emerge as a global trade hub over the next few years, an effective port infrastructure is vital to scale up the country's trade development," Mr Mohandas added.
The government's Sethusamudram Ship Channel project and its plan to develop coastal shipping and Inland Water Transport (IWT) are expected to open avenues for dredging in the country, he added.
The government has taken all the allies on board over the issue and explained to them that the decision to hike fuel prices was taken with an eye on achieving GDP growth and to minimise fiscal deficit
A rollback of the fuel price hike appears remote with the Indian government on Wednesday telling its allies as well as members of the ruling Congress that any reduction would stymie its plans for higher economic growth and lowering fiscal deficit, reports PTI.
In separate meetings with members of parliament (MPs) from the Congress, leaders of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies like Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), finance minister Pranab Mukherjee explained the rationale behind the government's move.
Two of these allies DMK and TMC had earlier resented the government's decision to hike fuel prices but had later piped down their opposition while NCP openly supported the government over the issue.
Mr Mukherjee is learnt to have told the allies that there was nothing in this decision as the government only withdrew (partially) the reduction given in excise duty earlier.
"It was a short meeting. The government explained to them (allies) the rationale behind the decision," parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.
Sources in the government, meanwhile, said that the government has taken all the allies on board over the issue and explained to them that the decision to this effect was taken with an eye on achieving gross domestic product (GDP) growth and to minimise fiscal deficit.
Meanwhile, TMC chief whip Sudip Bandopadhyaye, who attended the meeting, said, "We expressed our observations on the issue. It is now up to prime minister Manmohan Singh to take a final decision. We will accept (the decision). In no circumstances (do) we want to undermine the existence of the UPA."
Sources said Mr Mukherjee in his meeting with Congress MPs told them that steps like the fuel price hike were inevitable if resources are to be mopped up for increased expenditure in the social sector without imposing any new taxes.
Mr Mukherjee is learnt to have told them that since no new taxes have been imposed in the Budget and the government is expecting a GDP growth of 8.5% from 7.2% in the outgoing financial year, some steps were required.
He also gave them a comparative chart of the fuel price hike done under the UPA and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) respectively in which he explained that the rise in prices of petroleum products was far less during the UPA rule as compared to that of the NDA, which increased prices 33 times.
Mr Mukherjee also allayed apprehensions of any sharp rise in prices of foodgrains and essential commodities due to the fuel price hike telling the allies that the yield in Punjab was good this year and it would help lower prices.
Talking to reporters outside Parliament House, Union minister Ambika Soni, who also attended the meeting, said, "You have to create growth and for growth creation you need to pump in money.”
Another party MP Jagdambika Pal stressed the need for economic reforms to achieve high GDP growth and said, "We will tolerate this burden and price rise will also not be allowed to hit people."
The Congress Core Group had grappled with the issue last night and had apparently decided to back prime minister Manmohan Singh, who has indicated that a rollback would not be possible. Party president Sonia Gandhi is expected to explain the party's position on the issue of rollback when she addresses a Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting tomorrow.
With the aviation industry growing at 18% CAGR, India needs up to 3,000 aircraft in the next 10 years, according to the civil aviation minister
India needs at least 400 airports and 3,000 aircraft in the next 10 years to keep pace with growing demand, Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel said at Hyderabad on Wednesday, reports PTI.
He said as the aviation industry has been growing at 18% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), the country needs up to 3,000 aircraft in the next ten years. He also underscored the need for making air travel safer and more secure.
"Our job is not over by creating infrastructure for (the) aviation industry to grow. We need safe and secure aviation. Indian aviation will not grow at the cost of safety and security," the minister said during the inauguration of India Aviation-2010, a five-day exhibition and conference on international aviation that began today.
He said that the bidding process for the Navi Mumbai airport is expected to be completed in a year.
Separately, American ambassador to the country Timothy J Roemer said that the US would partner public and private sectors to support and modernise the Indian aviation sector.
"The USA would work with Indian public and private sector partners to create economic opportunities and jobs in both the countries. US companies participating in the show are ready to partner India for its goal of modernising and upgrading airports, improving air-traffic flow and making it a regional aviation hub," he said.
Mr Roemer was speaking after the inauguration of the US Pavilion at the 'India Aviation-2010'.
He advised the US business community to seize every opportunity during the event to facilitate greater co-operation between the two countries in the sector.
The US is under special focus during 'Indian Aviation- 2010' and it was the official partner for the previous edition of the event.