The infrastructure sector in India would require about Rs 50 trillion ($778 billion) by 2022 as a key growth driver for sustainable development across the country, said an industry official on Tuesday.
"The infrastructure sector, comprising core sectors like power, roads, highways and renewable energy, will require Rs 50-trillion investments over the next 4 years to have sustainable development in the country," said Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)'s Karnataka unit Chairman N. Muthukumar at a day-long conference here.
Participating in the CII annual conference on infrastructure themed "Impact of Technology on Infrastructure Development & Changing Workplace", Muthukumar said while core sectors would drive the investments in the years to come, with proper infrastructure, land use by industries could be reduced by 40 per cent.
"Infrastructure development influences the overall development of the economy. The private sector is emerging as a key player across various segments, from roads and communications to power and airports," said Muthukumar, who is also President of Automotive Axles Ltd.
Noting that the infra sector is critical to propel growth, Volvo India Managing Director Kamal Bali said as good infrastructure and logistics are pre-requisites for a healthy economy, India has a long way to go.
"The cost of logistics in India is 14 per cent of the GDP as opposed to 8 per cent in the rest of the world, resulting in a wastage of $150 billion a year. With 62 per cent of logistic movement in the country by road, stress on surface infrastructure is huge, resulting in 75,000km per year per truck as against 450,000 km in China," Bali said.
Though urabanisation is a sign of a developing economy, Sri City President Satish Kamat said, providing right infrastructure is critical, as mistakes in the sector could not be corrected easily.
"Infrastructure affects a nation's social and economic fabric and when intertwined with technology, it becomes a force multiplier," asserted Kamat.
He advocated the use of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and deep learning in infra development to ensure longevity and effectiveness.
Highlighting the issues facing the infra sector, Kamat said lack of long-term finance, skill upgradation and technology solutions are holding up its growth pace.
"We need the right infrastructure, developed at the right speed and using the right technology to ensure the country is future ready," asserted Kamat.
CII's state infrastructure taskforce convener Syed Mohammed Beary lamented that a city like Bengaluru lacks the right infrastructure though it is suited to be one of the world's best.
"In India, we build infrastructure after a city grows, while good infrastructure builds great countries and futuristic cities," Beary pointed out.
Karnataka Industry Minister K.J. George, who was to inaugurate the conference, and state Urban Development Secretary Mahendra Jain, who was to deliver the special address, were conspicuous by their absence.
"There was no official representation from the state government at the conference," a CII office told IANS here.
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