Nagpur: Among the senior-most ministers in the Narendra Modi-led government, Union minister of road, transport and highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari on Friday said that for reviving the country’s economy in the post Covid-19 world, it was essential to work on India’s infrastructure specifically on the construction of roads and highways which in turn would create more jobs.
“There has been immense response to the government’s pro-industry reforms which has also led to generation of employment. For reviving the economy after Covid-19, we need to revive and work on the country’s infrastructure. Fast tracking construction activities and completing pending ones not only gives an impetus to economic revival but also generates more employment,” Gadkari said.
“Road construction has led to an increase in employment. During the lockdown, a lot of migrant labourers had left for their villages in other states but they have since returned to work on projects helmed by the road transport ministry,” Gadkari said.
Migrant workers are critical to building the country’s infrastructure and the road, transport and highways ministry has put in place a number of measures so that labourers can work safely and complete infra projects amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have offered extensions without penalty to contractors so that they can complete pending projects stalled due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. After the lockdown was lifted, contractors have ensured protective measures for workers. They have taken care of their food and shelter, have provided medical benefits, ensured masks and sanitisers at construction sites and also tried to maintain social distance while the labourers are at work. All this has led to confidence-building among migrant workers and a large section have returned to work on stalled projects,” Gadkari said.
The minister was participating in the 18th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS) 2020. Other key speakers at the wholly virtual summit included Ajay Bijli, Chairman and Managing Director of PVR Limited and Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company, Asia-Pacific and Chairman, Star and Disney India. Gadkari was in conversation with Zakka Jacob, Executive Editor, CNN News 18 on the fourth day of the summit.
Politically, Gadkari rose through the ranks in the Bharatiya Janata Party, becoming a minister in his home state of Maharashtra. He took over as party chief at a time of crisis soon after the 2009 polls and won the Nagpur parliamentary seat — the bastion of the RSS– in both 2014 and 2019.
In the midst of the largest public health crisis that the world has ever witnessed—the Covid-19 pandemic– this year’s edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS) is a totally virtual affair and an amalgamation of global leaders from all spheres of life. Live discussions with the celebrity participants has been spread over the span of four weeks scheduled twice a week on Thursdays and Fridays.