Washington: US pension and private equity firms are excited about financing India’s $80 billion (Rs3.84 trillion) programme to build roads and expressways, according to minister for road transport and highways Kamal Nath.

Core spending: The Indian government estimates spending on roads, ports and other infrastructure to be $500 bn in the five years to 2012. Harikrishna Katragadda/Mint

“The projects are not only viable, but profitable," Nath told reporters in New York. US investors are now not looking at real estate, not looking at equities; they’re looking at infrastructure.

India will need $1.7 trillion to build infrastructure over the next decade to boost economic growth, Goldman Sachs estimated in a report on Wednesday. Foreign and Indian private companies are expected to contribute $45 billion of the total $80 billion projected investment for the roads and highways programme over five years, according to Nath.

The Indian government is studying the feasibility of setting up mega projects, which would involve individual bids of at least $1 billion, to attract big companies with the best technology, Nath said. His US visit capped a tour that included Singapore, Zurich and London.

The Indian government estimates spending on roads, ports and other infrastructure at $500 billion in the five years to 2012.

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