Aid infrastructure creation to boost growth, Nitin Gadkari tells RBI

MUMBAI: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday blamed RBI circulars for "complicating" project finance, and asked the central bank to aid infrastructure creation in the country and push up the growth rate.

The road transport minister said over 150 projects involving investments of over Rs 2 lakh crore are currently struggling to get financial closure.

"Unfortunately, many times ... circular issued by the RBI (is) creating more complications and this is one of the reasons why I am facing problems as far as financial closure is concerned," Gadkari said, speaking at the annual ET awards here this evening.

"I feel that it is appropriate time for the RBI to support infrastructure in the country as far as our growth rate is concerned," he added.

Asked if he has interacted with the RBI on this, he first said it is not his job and launched what can be perceived to be an attack on the RBI brass, which, media reports say, has peeved lenders because of its refusal to meet them.

"It is not my job, I don't want to meet him. My experience is not good ... I have said my point in minimal words. You meet only those from whom you can get some benefit, why should you meet people for nothing?" Gadkari said.

He said during the days when there were difficulties with projects, lenders gave loans to the infrastructure sector and wondered what is holding back the bankers now, saying a bulk of the concerns like environmental conditions and land acquisition troubles has been taken care of.

"I don't know what is the reason that the banks are not making financial closure and because of some circular issued by RBI it is painful," he said.

Opening up credit supply will lead to an increase in the contribution to GDP by sectors overseen by his ministry to 3.5 per cent of GDP from the 3 per cent earlier, he said.

Gadkari said since taking office, he has saved Rs 3 lakh crore of loans from becoming NPAs by solving issues of stuck projects.

Besides road transport and highways, the senior BJP minister handles portfolios like shipping, water resources, river development & ganga rejuvenation. 

PTI

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