MINISTER FOR ROAD TRANSPORT, HIGHWAYS AND SHIPPING
NITIN GADKARI REMAINS ONE of the best-perfoming cabinet ministers given the ease with which he runs the twin heavyweight ministries of roads and shipping. He has overhauled the national highway-building sector, tripled investment in highways and built highways at a faster rate than under UPA-II and unselfishly batted for the economies of water transport.
He has kept road construction costs down despite price rises and inflation and introduced parliamentary legislation like the Road Transport Bill to reduce road accidents, which still cause some 150,000 deaths annually. The minister is to shortly roll out the country’s first policy for electric vehicles. A Rs 11,000 crore, 135-km greenfield project, the Eastern Peripheral Highway, to be inaugurated this August, will divert 200,000 trucks from Delhi.
The shipping sector with 12 major ports has seen a big turnaround in output and efficiency, with profits doubling to over Rs 5,000 crore thanks to improved cargo handling through simple management methods and low cost technology. —Uday Mahurkar