Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari today said there is no paucity of funds to develop highway infrastructure in the country, but the pace of implementation of projects needs to be increased.

In his address during the listing ceremony of the National Highways Infrastructure Trust's non-convertible debentures at the Bombay Stock Exchange, Gadkari said, “We do not have paucity of funds. We need to speed up implementation. Mega infrastructure development is needed for the $5-trillion economy dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Gadkari’s statement comes in the backdrop of a sharp decline in the pace of the highway construction in the country. Highway construction has come down to about half of the 2020-21 performance of the ministry. The average road construction till September in the current financial year has come down to 19.44 km compared with 37 km logged in 2020-21.

Gadkari, however, assured the government is working on large project pipeline and will come out with bigger fundraising compared with the today’s listing. “26 greenfield expressways and several other projects are in pipeline, and will provide more investment opportunities. He said infrastructure projects are economically viable and will give good returns,” he said, adding that the internal rate of return in the infrastructure project is 7%.

Terming the listing of the InvIT NCDs on the Bombay Stock Exchange as historic, Gadkari mentioned the InvIT was oversubscribed almost seven times in just seven hours of its opening. “It offers an effective yield of 8.05% per annum with highest credibility. We will launch more InvITs. We do not have any dearth of projects. 70 percent work of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway has been completed. In future we will take up such projects under InvITs,” he added. The ₹1,500-crore NCD issue carries a coupon rate of 7.90% payable semi-annually.

Follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp to never miss an update from Fortune India. To buy a copy, visit Amazon.