Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Nitin Gadkari has called for greater investments by international institutions and bodies India’s highways and MSME sectors.
In an interaction with the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Womennovator on trade investment and collaborations in road infrastructure and MSMEs on Wednesday, the minister also averred that the automobile and MSME segments were the two growth engines of the Indian economy.
Gadkari said that India and Australia were already co-operating in the road safety sector. He said this cooperation had provided for better designing of roads and awareness opportunities for the public. Under the Indian Road Safety Assessment Programme, 21,000 km of roads had been assessed and about 3,000 km road length was under technological upgrade.
He said that better road engineering and increased public awareness had led to improvements. It was estimated that these upgrades will bring about a 50 per cent reduction in road accidents. Gadkari informed that the objective of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) was to achieve zero road fatality by 2030.
Gadkari informed that his ministry had taken a lot of initiatives to reduce road accidents. Multilateral lending agencies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) had already committed Rs 70 billion each for this campaign. He said through social awareness and education, improvement in emergency services, insistence on medical insurance, and provision of more hospitals, the country was inching closer to achieving its road safety targets. He referred to the Motor Vehicle Act, 2019, as comprehensive legislation on all aspects of the transport sector in India.
The minister said the govt was concentrating on the village, agriculture and tribal sectors for creating employment opportunities there. He emphasised that the MSME sector will drive the Indian economy in the coming years. He informed that investment in infrastructure and insurance sectors had been opened up as there were huge opportunities in insurance, pension and shared economies. He said the MSME sector will also be approaching the capital market shortly.
Also speaking on the occasion, Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack elaborated on the various initiatives undertaken by his country in the road sector especially in the area of road safety. He added that India and Australia enjoyed strong relations, which he added had never been stronger. He expressed confidence that the ties between the two countries will expand further to different fields including trade and commerce. He stressed on the need for building infrastructure and added saying that this was one way of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.