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`Further cut in infrastructure finance cost vital for growth'

Our Bureau

"Be it privatisation of airport authorities or the development of new greenfield projects, there is no headway in the right direction so far. As far as the power sector is concerned, now is the time for action," Mr N.K. Singh said.

New Delhi , Aug. 18

LOWERING the cost of infrastructure finance is one of the three major challenges that must be addressed on an urgent basis for the overall development of infrastructure in the country, according to Mr N.K. Singh, Member, Planning Commission.

"Though the interest rates have come down considerably in the recent past, but still, they are not internationally comparable. The cost of infrastructure finance still needs to be brought down," Mr Singh said here today while delivering a lecture on "Infrastructure development — The road to bridge India's competitive gap" on the occasion on the 14th Foundation Day of the Institute of Directors (IOD).

The other two challenges that infrastructure development is confronted with, Mr Singh said, are credibility of regulatory bodies and ways to unbundle the risks involved in this key sector.

Talking about the progress in various infrastructure sectors, Mr Singh said that there has been a lot of progress made in a variety of sectors in the past, but civil aviation continues to be the only weak point of the Government.

"Be it privatisation of airport authorities or the development of new greenfield projects, there is no headway in the right direction so far. As far as the power sector is concerned, now is the time for action... We should learn from our past experiences and mistakes and move in the right direction," he said.

On the occasion, Dr Najma Heptulla, Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha, and National Chairperson of IOD, presented the annual "Distinguished Fellowship" awards to Mr Vijay Mallya, Chairman, UB Group; Mr U. K. Bose, CEO, Sahara Airlines; Mr M.S. Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Oil Corporation; Mr T.K.A. Nair, Chairman, Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), Mr C.P.K. Nair, Chairman, Hotel Leela Group; and Dr Uddesh Kohli, President, All India Management Association (AIMA), for their outstanding contribution to business and society.

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