Moody’s upgrades outlook on Indian banking from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’

Source: Business Standards, 19 October 2021

Global rating agency Moody’s has upgraded the outlook on the Indian banking system from “Negative” to “Stable” on the back of stabilising asset quality and improved capital.

The deterioration of asset quality since the onset of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been moderate, and an improving operating environment will support asset quality. The level of problem loans for rated banks has moved down from 8.5 per cent in FY19 to 7.1 per cent in FY21.

Declining credit costs as a result of improving asset quality will lead to improvements in profitability and capital will remain above pre-pandemic levels, the rating agency said in a statement.

The operating environment will be stable as the economy gradually recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, said Moody’s. “India’s economy is expected to continue to recover in the next 12-18 months, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing 9.3 per cent in FY22 and 7.9 per cent in the following year. The pickup in economic activity will drive credit growth, which we expect to be 10 per cent to 13 per cent annually,” the rating agency said.

Moody’s said that while weak corporate financials and funding constraints at finance companies have been key negative factors for banks, these risks have receded. The quality of corporate loans has improved, indicating that banks have recognised and provisioned for all legacy problem loans in this segment.

The quality of retail loans has deteriorated, but to a limited degree because large-scale job losses have not occurred, the agency added.

Capital to stay above pre-pandemic levels

The capital ratios have risen across rated banks in the past year because most have issued new shares. The capital adequacy ratio of rated Indian banks as a pack improved from 9.9 per cent in FY19 to 11.1 per cent in FY21, Moody’s data showed.

Public sector banks’ ability to raise equity capital from the market is particularly credit positive as it reduces their dependence on the government for capital.

However, further increases in capital will be limited because banks will use most of retained earnings to support an acceleration of loan growth, Moody’s added.

Profitability will improve on dip in credit costs

Banks’ returns on assets will rise as credit costs decline while banks’ core profitability will be stable. If interest rates rise, net interest margins will increase, but it will also lead to mark-to-market losses on banks’ large holdings of government securities, the agency added.

PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate Kushinagar International Airport, launch development projects

Source: Economic Times, 19 October 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kushinagar International Airport, which is an endeavour to connect Buddhist pilgrimage sites around the world, on Wednesday and launch various development projects there during his visit to poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

The PMO said he will also participate in an event marking Abhidhamma Day at the Mahaparinirvana Temple in Kushinagar before attending a public function to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of various development projects.

The inauguration of the Kushinagar International Airport will be marked by the landing of the inaugural flight at the airport from Colombo, Sri Lanka, carrying a Sri Lankan delegation of over 100 Buddhist monks and dignitaries including the 12-member holy relic entourage bringing the holy Buddha relics for exposition.

The delegation also comprises of anunayakas (deputy heads) of all four nikatas (orders) of Buddhism in Sri Lanka; Asgiriya, Amarapura, Ramanya, Malwatta as well as five ministers of the Lankan government led by cabinet minister Namal Rajapakshe, the PMO said.

The airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 260 crore and will facilitate domestic and international pilgrims to visit the ‘mahaparinirvana’ site of Lord Buddha and is an endeavour to connect the Buddhist pilgrimage holy sites around the world, it added.

The airport will serve nearby districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and is an important step in boosting investment and employment opportunities in the region.

Modi will visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple and pay his respects to the reclining statue of Lord Buddha and also plant a Bodhi tree sapling.

He will participate in an event, organised to mark ‘abhidhamma’ day which symbolises the end of three-month rainy retreat – ‘varshavaas’ or ‘vassa’ – for the Buddhist monks during which they stay at one place in vihara and monastery and pray.

The event will also be attended by eminent monks from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, South Korea, Nepal, Bhutan and Cambodia, as well as ambassadors of various countries.

The PMO said Modi will walk through the exhibition of paintings of Ajanta frescos, Buddhist sutra calligraphy and Buddhist artefacts excavated from Vadnagar and other sites in Gujarat.

At a public event, the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of Rajkiya Medical College, Kushinagar which will be built at a cost of over Rs 280 crore.

The college will have a 500-bed hospital and provide admissions to 100 students in MBBS course in the academic session 2022-2023.

He will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of 12 development projects worth over Rs 180 crore, it added.

Auto sector shifts gear towards recycling parts, batteries

Source: Economic Times, 19 October 2021

From ageing electric batteries to old engines to rear view mirrors, the auto industry is revving up its recycling efforts as it faces pressure to reduce its colossal carbon footprint.

The world’s automakers are investing in facilities to salvage old parts but the industry is also looking to recycle the millions of electric batteries used for the cars of the future.

While electric cars are cleaner than their fossil fuel forebears, the raw materials needed for their batteries are extracted from mines in Africa that are often accused of environmental damage and using child labour.

“As demand for these materials increase, the pressures on these (economically marginalised) regions are likely to be amplified, risking the goals of a socially and ecologically sustainable renewable energy system,” according to the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney.

How the auto industry will manage its electric transition is likely to be among the hot topics at the two-week COP26 climate summit hosted by Britain starting October 31.

The sector produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire European Union, with 20 percent of it coming from manufacturing, according to the World Economic Forum.

Batteries can account for as much as half the price of electric cars, with a life expectancy ranging between eight and 15 years.

Recycling them could have a considerable impact.

It could reduce demand for lithium by 25 percent, cobalt by 35 percent, and nickel and copper by 55 percent in 2040, the Institute for Sustainable Futures said in a report in April.

But new mining projects are under way, with “the potential for adverse impacts on local environments and communities, including pollution of soil, air and water, human rights abuses and unsafe working conditions,” the Australian institute said.

It is technologically possible to recover over 90 percent of the metals used in batteries, but the effort is “limited by the lack of a strong economic driver or policy that could encourage the use of recycled materials,” the report said.

The European Commission wants to require that 12 percent of the cobalt, four percent of lithium and four percent of nickel used in electric batteries be from recycled material from 2030.

Leading a ‘Revolt’
China is ahead of the game, according to experts, with battery maker CATL recently announcing the construction of a 32-billion-yuan ($5 billion, 4.3-billion-euro) recycling plant in Hubei province.

Redwood, headed by one of the founders of US electric car champion Tesla, raised $500 million in July to expand its recycling facility.

Swedish startup Northvolt — a Volkswagen and BMW partner — plans to launch next year a factory capable of recycling 25,000 tonnes of batteries per year.

The company has pledged that 50 percent of its battery components would be made from recycled materials by 2030.

The project, dubbed Revolt, is part of the company’s promise to be the greenest battery maker in Europe.

Northvolt’s chief environmental officer, Emma Nehrenheim, warned that all market forecasts have underestimated the growth of battery production.

“Production is constantly growing,” Nehrenheim said.

“I’m more worried about the fact that Europe won’t be ready. I see lots of interest, but there could be some gaps. Readiness is needed. We have to act now,” she said.

French nuclear giant Orano is launching a project to apply techniques used for extracting uranium to recycle batteries.

At the plant, batteries are stripped of their plastic covering and the aluminium foils that hold the cells, which are then shredded to dust to extract the different metals.

Recycling dashboards
It is not just electric batteries that are being recycled as the industry aims to one day produce “circular cars” — vehicles with a net-zero carbon footprint.

In France, a joint venture of automaker Renault and utilities group Suez dismantles 5,000 cars per year for their parts.

The company, Indra, has taken its industrial process to Belgium, Portugal and Switzerland.

Workers empty fuel tanks and strips a car of its engine, tires, dashboard, rearview mirrors, and other parts within two hours — around 35 percent of the weight of the vehicle.

Each car can fetch up to 400 euros in salvaged parts which are sold to repair shops or private consumers. The rest is pressed, melted, burned or recycled for other sectors.

Jaguar Land Rover has a project to recycle aluminium from scrapped vehicles, which the company says could cut CO2 emissions from production by 26 percent.

Indian economy is bouncing back strongly: MoS for External Affairs V Muraleedharan

Source: Financial Express. 17 October 2021

The Indian economy is bouncing back strongly, domestic consumption is increasing and industrial production is at pre-COVID level, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has said, emphasising that the reforms implemented by the government has provided fillip to the business ecosystem in the country.

Muraleedharan said the Narendra Modi government has undertaken “far-reaching” structural reforms, making use of the mantra of ‘Reform, Perform and Transform’.

“These reforms range from digital transactions to banking reforms, to combating corruption, controlling inflation. Now more than 90% of the FDI approvals have been put on the automatic approval route. We are promoting an ecosystem of creativity and innovation in every field,” the minister said here last week.

Muraleedharan was in the city for a two-day visit to attend a high-level UN Security Council open debate on ‘Peacebuilding and sustaining peace’ held under the Kenyan Presidency of the Council earlier last week.

Speaking at an event organised by Jaipur Foot USA and Gracious Givers Foundation USA in the city, Muraleedharan said the reforms being undertaken by the government provides fillip to the business ecosystem in India and the diaspora could play a significant role in the process by roping in more investments and bringing in technology and skills into the country.

“We firmly believe that with the improving ecosystem and better engagement with the diaspora, new ideas will germinate in the country,” he said.

“It is evidently clear that the economy is bouncing back strongly. Domestic consumption is increasing and industrial production is at pre-COVID levels,” he said.

Muraleedharan told the gathering of eminent members of the Indian-American community and diaspora that India is now in the process of moving towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India).

“When we say ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, it does not mean an inward-looking policy. It’s a strategy that would enable and lead us towards a stronger self-reliant India, linking the global supply chains,” he said.

He noted that to provide further fillip to the manufacturing sector, the government has approved production linked incentive schemes in 10 key sectors to give a boost to the economy affected by the COVID19 pandemic.

Muraleedharan also lauded the work being done by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) and Jaipur Foot USA. “The organisation’s transformative service to the underprivileged free of cost deserves special mention,” he said.

The minister added that Jaipur Foot camps have helped change lives of many people not only in India but across the globe from Asia to Africa to Latin America.

“It is a matter of satisfaction and pride” that under the India for Humanity initiative launched as part of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebration, numerous artificial limbs fitness camps fully sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs and operationalised by BMVSS have been held in 13 countries and more 7000 artificial limbs have been fitted.

He added that it is heartening to see the younger generation in the United States has also join the social campaign. He congratulated Nikhil Mehta and Ajay Tadinada for their efforts in launching ‘Oxygen on Wheels’ initiative reaching out to the door steps of differently-abled people in remote places amid the pandemic.

On the occasion, Muraleedharan presented leadership awards to Mehta and Tadinada.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaipur Foot USA continued its efforts to provide free artificial limb fitments to differently-abled people through specially-designed mobile van. Jaipur Foot USA Chairman Prem Bhandari said the fully-equipped mobile van has technicians and experts who will be able to carry out 8-10 artificial limb fitments each day. New York-based youngster Nikhil Mehta had come up with the idea of the mobile vans.

Tadinada, who is part of the Jaipur Foot youth wing, had met BMVSS founder Padma Bhushan D R Mehta for the first time when he was in 9th grade, and was inspired by his work. As part of the Jaipur Foot USA youth initiative, he has launched an internship programme for youth to work with Jaipur Foot USA’s initiatives to help differently-abled people in India.

Muraleedharan further added that the unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic has taught the world that in an interdependent and inter-connected world, no country, rich or poor, is immune to the effects of global disasters.

The Modi government has taken all necessary steps to fight the pandemic, he said.

Modi’s “mantra of ‘Test, Track, Treat and Tikka’, implementing various schemes for the benefit of the poor, providing foodgrains to over 80 crore people till Diwali this year, all are in line with the government’s efforts to minimise the impact of the pandemic,” he said.

A Jan Ashirwaad Abhar Meeting was also organised on the occasion. Jaipur Foot USA Chairman Prem Bhandari said India, with a population of over 1.3 billion people, had a greater need for vaccines and other medicines required to deal with COVID and stop the spread of the virus. Still, India helped neighbouring countries, Africa and South America, with an open heart in providing millions of vaccines and other COVID-related medicines.

India to start talks for three more free trade agreements: Piyush Goyal

Source: Financial Express, 15 October 2021

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said two more countries and a bloc of nations have evinced interest in forging trade pacts with India, which reflects growing interests among key economies in bolstering their trade engagement with New Delhi in a post-Covid world.

While Goyal didn’t name these economies, he said talks with them will be over and above India’s current negotiations with Australia, the UK, the UAE and the EU for free trade agreements (FTAs). The interest was shown in bilateral meetings at the recently-concluded G20 ministerial in Sorrento, Italy. Goyal held about 15 meetings with the trade ministers of various countries, including South Korea, South Africa, the US, Brazil, China and the EU.

The negotiations are a part of New Delhi’s broader strategy to forge “fair and balanced” FTAs with key economies and revamp existing pacts to boost trade. The move gained traction after India pulled out of the China-dominated RCEP talks in November 2019.

Addressing reporters, Goyal also asserted that the National Master Plan for ‘multi-modal connectivity’, or PM GatiShakti, will fast-track infrastructure projects and cut delays as well as cost over-runs through a holistic and well-coordinated approach. This will help boost economic growth, spur employment and draw large-scale investments into the country. The programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

The new initiative is a GIS-based platform with as many as 600 layers, capturing all utilities and network linkages in various economic clusters. Ambitious targets have been set under the plan for capacity addition in various infrastructure sectors for 2024-25.

The new plan will complement the Rs 111-lakh-crore National Infrastructure Pipeline and multiple efforts to generate resources for it, including the National Monetisation Pipeline and the development finance institution (DFI) that are being operationalised.

Goyal indicated that the programme is aimed at breaking inter-ministerial silos. Instead of separate planning and designing by relevant departments, projects will be designed and executed with a common vision. Minimising disruptions and ensuring quick completion of work with cost efficiency are the guiding principles for development of infrastructure as per the National Master Plan.

GatiShakti will enhance India’s competitiveness through next generation infrastructure and seamless multi-modal connectivity. It will ensure the smooth movement of goods and people and enhance the ease of living as well as doing business.

The idea is to lend more power and speed to projects by connecting all relevant departments on one platform. High logistics cost in India at 13% of GDP was eroding competitiveness in exports, he had said.

As for trade agreements, India and Australia are eyeing are planning to hammer out an early-harvest deal by the Christmas this year and a broader FTA by the end of 2022. Similarly, New Delhi and Abu Dhabi aim to wrap up negotiations by as early as December 2021 and sign the deal by March 2022 after the completion of necessary ratification processes. If all goes as planned, it would be the first FTA to be signed by India in just over a decade.

Balanced FTAs are expected to also enable the country to achieve sustained growth rates in exports in the coming years. Already, India has set an ambitious merchandise export target of $400 billion for FY22, against $291 billion in FY21.

Karnataka makes strong pitch for more foreign investments in Dubai Expo 2020

Source: Business Standards, 17 October 2021

Highlighting Karnataka’s “dominant position” in the Aerospace and Defence sector, the state government on Sunday made a strong pitch for more foreign investments in these sectors, at the Dubai Expo 2020.

Delivering a keynote address during the session on Opportunities in Aerospace, Defence and Space Sector of Karnataka at Dubai Expo 2020, Large and Medium Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani pointed out that the state has great potential in these sectors, his office said in a statement. Karnataka, apart from being India’s largest Aerospace cluster, is also the 2nd largest producer of Heavy Electrical machinery in India. Bengaluru alone produces around 60 per cent of machine tools in India. Our state is also the 2nd largest chip design hub in the country. We have set up a Center of Excellence in partnership with Dassault Systems to provide industry-ready manpower, he said.

Highlighting the thriving small scale industries many of which are auxiliary to the Aerospace and Defence sector, the minister said the state is providing a support system to push these sectors. Karnataka has a strong base of around 2,000 SMEs that carry out niche sub-contracting work in the Aerospace & Defence sector. Therefore, the well-developed support system for the sector has further facilitated the expansion of this industry while also attracting the global players to set up their base in our state, he added. The Minister, earlier in the day held a series of Business to Government (B2G) meetings with the business delegations of top companies at Karnataka Pavilion in Dubai Expo 2020, the release said. The minister held a Business to Government (B2G) meeting with a delegation from United Parcel Service (UPS), which is one of the world’s largest package delivery companies and a premier provider of global supply chain solutions. He also held talks with Dawood Al Shezawi, President, Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), which is an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy. B2G meetings were also held with a delegation of Lulu Group- which responded positively to Nirani’s suggestions to set up Lulu markets across Karnataka, the Export Bahrain delegation, and Taghleef Industries- one of the largest global manufacturers of BoPP films, the release added.

India offers spectrum of opportunities: FM Nirmala Sitharaman tells CEOs

Source: Financial Express, 14 October 2021

India offers a spectrum of opportunities to investors and business firms, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told executives of top American companies, as she met and apprised them of various flagship programmes of the Indian government under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat. Sitharaman, 62, is currently in the American capital to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

On the sidelines of these events, she has been meeting a host of top American CEOs with footprints in India and who have shown interest in seizing the investment opportunities in the country.

In her meeting with Amway CEO, Milind Pant, the focus of discussion ranged in the areas of research and development, manufacturing automation, innovation and nutrition segment, the ministry said.

Initiatives like National Monetisation Pipeline recently launched the National Infrastructure Master Plan and a spectrum of opportunities at GIFT City in Gujarat was mentioned by the finance minister during her meeting. The minister underlined the presence and performance of the company in India since 1998 and its keenness to invest in the coming years.

During her meeting with B Marc Allen, Chief Strategy Officer of Boeing, the discussion was broadly in the areas of skilling, research and development, manufacturing automation, innovation and the aerospace sector.

She underlined Boeing’s collaboration in Make In India and Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiatives and the interest of the company to invest in the future.

During her meeting with Stanley Erck, CEO of Novavax, Sitharaman discussed important Indian initiatives towards healthcare reforms like research and development in medical science, health and well-being and the growing opportunities at GIFT City in Gujarat. She underlined the company’s interest to invest in India in the coming years.

USIBC meets FM Nirmala Sitharaman; praises India’s reform trajectory

Source: Financial Express, 14 October 2021

Members of the influential US India Business Council in their meeting with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Wednesday praised India’s reform trajectory and exuded confidence in the growing Indian economy.

“We praised her reform trajectory and discussed new opportunities to strengthen commercial ties between the US and India,” USIBC said after they along with CII hosted the visiting finance minister for an interactive session.

Business leaders thanked the minister in laying down the vision for future growth and congratulated the Indian Government in steering the economy during the COVID19 pandemic, the Finance Ministry said. Participating business leaders also expressed keen interest in scaling up their investments in India, it said.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Milind Pant, Amway CEO; Vivek Lall, Chief Executive of General Atomics; Octavio Simoes, president and CEO of Tellurian; Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting Group and S V Anchan chairman of Safesea Group.

The meeting was attended by CEOs and business leaders from insurance, private equity, technology, energy and pharma sectors amongst others. India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, also addressed the meeting that was presided over by USIBC president Nisha Desai Biswal.

Power Ministry asks thermal units to import coal for minimum 10% blending

Source: Business Standards, 13 October 2021

The Centre has asked thermal power generators to import coal for at least 10 per cent blending, citing shortage of domestic coal supply. This is a sharp reversal of its earlier directive of using domestic coal.

At the same time, it alleged that “several states” were selling unallocated power from central generating stations on power exchanges “at a high price” and would be penalised.

The Union power ministry’s warning came without the ministry spokesperson disclosing which states they were.

The mandate to use imported coal for blending came two days after the coal and power ministers denied any shortage of domestic coal.

“Thermal power plants based on domestic coal will use imported coal of up to 10 per cent for blending with domestic coal, wherever technically feasible, to meet the increased power demand in the country. Power generation companies (gencos) shall expedite the process of importing coal for blending to meet the requirement,” stated the notification on Tuesday.

The power ministry said the revival of the economy had led to an increase in demand and consumption of electricity.

“During the August-September period, the share of coal-based generation increased to 66 per cent, from 62 per cent in 2019. As a consultant, total coal consumption during the same period increased 18 per cent over the corresponding period in 2019. However, supply from Coal India is not commensurate with the requirement,” said a notice from the fuel management division of the Central Electricity Authority, the technical arm of the power ministry.

It further said the coal stock at power plants was fast depleting and currently stood at 7.3 million tonnes (mt).

When the crisis started in August with a coal supply shortfall, the Union power ministry earlier urged gencos to “consider import of coal”. Only state-owned NTPC imported a meagre 2 mt.

As part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative, the government decided to reduce the import of coal. Union Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi said India would have zero coal imports by 2023-24, according to a media release by the Press Information Bureau in February 2020.

In a November 2020 interview to Business Standard, Joshi said the government has decided not to import coal and that states and the Centre should work together towards it.

“Despite having large reserves, we spent some Rs 2.4 trillion in 2018-19 on importing coal. Coal India does pay for land and rehabilitation. It is building houses on wastelands, giving employment, and paying compensation for land taken. No state or central government, or their agencies, offer these many jobs. The question is whether we want to go for imports or domestically produce it by building a whole ecosystem,” he had said.

The Centre in 2017-18 had tried for zero coal imports, but it led to a shortage, compelling thermal units to resume the import of coal.

Coal stocks at thermal units fell to five days in September 2018, following complaints from several states over supply deficit. But in less than three years, a chain of events since August led to diminishing coal stock levels at thermal units. Currently, 16.8 gigawatt (Gw) of power generation capacity has zero days of coal stock and 25 Gw has less than three days of coal.

With coal supply and electricity shortage looming, several power distribution companies are panic buying on the power spot market, taking spot prices to record highs of Rs 20 per unit (kilowatt-hour, or kWh) – the ceiling price in the day-ahead market.

The Union Ministry of Power has, however, blamed states for this. “It has been observed that some states are not supplying power to consumers and imposing load-shedding in some areas. On the other hand, they are selling power in the power exchange at a high price,” said a statement from the ministry.

The statement is in regard to the 15 per cent power from central generating stations kept under ‘unallocated power’. This power is given by the central government on a need-basis to states.

“States are requested to use the unallocated power for supplying electricity to consumers of the state. In case of surplus power, states are requested to intimate, so that this power can be reallocated to other needy states. If any state is found selling power in power exchange or not scheduling this unallocated power, their unallocated power will be temporarily power-reduced or withdrawn and reallocated to other states in need,” said the statement.

The average market clearing price on Tuesday on the Indian Energy Exchange was Rs 15.85 per kWh. The maximum price was Rs 20 per kWh.

PM Modi unveils Gati Shakti National Master Plan for infrastructure

Source: Business Standards, 13 October 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a Rs 100 lakh crore national master plan for multi-modal connectivity that aims to develop infrastructure to reduce logistic costs and boost the economy.

PM Gati Shakti targets to cut logistic costs, increase cargo handling capacity and reduce the turnaround time, Modi said at a function to launch the plan.

The plan aims to lend more power and speed to projects by connecting all concerned departments on one platform, he said, adding the infrastructure schemes of various ministries and state governments will be designed and executed with a common vision.

Modi said taxpayers’ money in the past was ‘insulted’ through a lethargic approach to development work, with departments working in silos and there was no coordination on projects.

Development, he said, is not possible without quality infrastructure and the government has now resolved to develop it in a holistic manner.

Gati Shakti joins different departments for the coordinated development of projects from road to railways, aviation to agriculture, the Prime Minister said.

Stating that high logistics cost in India at 13 per cent of GDP was impacting competitiveness in exports, he said PM Gati Shakti is aimed at reducing logistic cost and turnaround time.

This, he said, will give a boost to India as an investment destination.

The Prime Minister said the speed and scale that India is witnessing under his government was never seen in the previous 70 years of independence.

Giving examples, he said the first inter-state natural gas pipeline was commissioned in 1987. From then to 2014, 15,000-km of the natural gas pipeline was built. Currently, more than 16,000-km of the new gas pipeline is being constructed.

“What was done in 27 years, we are doing in it in less than half that time,” he said.

In five years prior to the BJP government coming to power in 2014, 1,900-km of the rail line was doubled, while in the last 7 years 9,000-km of rail line doubling has happened.

Similarly, against 3,000 km of railway line electrification in five years prior to 2014, 24,000 km rail line doubling has happened in the last 7 years.

From 250-km of metro in 2015, the metro rail network has expanded to 700-km and work is on another 1,000-km, he said, adding 1.5 lakh village panchayats have been connected with optic fibre network in last 7 years as compared to only 60 village panchayats in five years prior to 2014.

Vessel turnaround time at ports has been reduced from 41 to 27 hours and attempts are being made to reduce it further, he said, adding 4.25 lakh circuit km of power transmission line have been laid against 3 lakh circuit km in five years prior to 2014.

Renewable energy has expanded the times, he said.