Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday directed the Niti Aayog to submit a report by end-October after mapping all industrial clusters–including freight and defence corridors, logistics parks, textiles parks and pharmaceutical hubs–so that they can be incorporated under the PM Gati Shakti initiative.
During the first meeting of the Apex Monitoring Authority for the National Industrial Corridor Development Programme, headed by her, Sitharaman also asked the shipping ministry to consider linking various sea ports in the country with industrial corridors. These were part of the seven action points highlighted by the minister.
“I find many of them still lying loose and unconnected. Mapping it up will probably give a better idea of how they can all come into this scheme of things,” Sitharaman said.
The meeting was attended by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, railways and telecommunications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, NITI Aayog vice-chairman Suman Bery, chief ministers of select states, including Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka, state industries ministers and senior officials.
The PM Gati Shakti is an online platform, which was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote integrated planning and coordinated implementation of various infrastructure connectivity projects.
Sitharaman also suggested to Goyal to review progress in the three industrial corridors of southern India — Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, Bengaluru Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and Vizag Chennai Industrial Corridor.
“For some reasons…the three corridors coming from the south have not been dealt with in an elaborate fashion,” Sitharaman added. The next review meeting will likely be in November.
The Centre is developing various industrial corridor projects as part of the National Industrial Corridor Programme. The idea is to develop greenfield industrial smart cities which can compete with the best manufacturing and investment destinations in the world.
For his part, Goyal stressed the need to focus on attracting investors quickly in these industrial corridors and asked NICDIT as well as states to conduct road shows for this purpose. “We must allot the land fast. The land should be reasonably priced for the industry and we should allow innovative ways such as different lease period, lease premium payment flexibility, rental model, lease cum rent option,” Goyal said. He also called for “affordable and consistent” electricity rates to draw investors. “High rates of electricity are a deterrent to the industry,” he added. Goyal warned that the Centre would not support any new industrial park if existing parks are not put to good use.
Vaishnaw urged the states to have dedicated nodes for electronic manufacturing, which will create massive jobs. “There is a huge opportunity for electronic manufacturing. Entire global value chain is shifting away from untrusted partners and India is being seen as a trusted partner. Success of electronic manufacturing in last in India has been watched by the world. From nowhere we have reached $76 billion and it is now growing in double digits,” he added.