Cabinet to review fresh airport privatization plan: Hardeep Singh Puri

Aug 18,2020

The civil aviation ministry will place a fresh plan for privatizing more airports before the Union cabinet this week as the government moves forward on its infrastructure development plans, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said at a conference.

“We are going to the cabinet tomorrow with further airport privatization plan. We have got many more airports lined up—dozens of them. And the 100 more airports that we will build between now and 2030, I think, will all augur well (for the economy)," Puri said at a webinar organised by industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on fostering steel usage in housing, construction and aviation sectors.

The government’s plan is to privatize about 30-35 airports over the next five years. For the second round of auctions to be held now, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) board has chosen the airports at Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Indore, Raipur and Trichi, Mint had reported on 21 May.

“Everybody should put their heads together to ensure we do this in the correct, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way," the minister said.

In May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the civil aviation ministry to speed up plans of privatizing six more airports in the second round of auctions. Privatization is aimed at making airports more efficient and at the same time fetch revenue to the exchequer. The coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted air travel and dealt a blow on the confidence of travellers, however, is set to force the government to be more liberal in terms of auctioning airports to private players for re-development.

Puri also said he hoped that domestic and international air travel will grow further. “I am extremely confident that both the domestic civil aviation and international civil aviation through bilateral air bubbles will revive very soon," said Puri. He said that by Diwali, domestic air travel would reach 50-55% of pre-covid-level and by the end of the year we will revert to pre-covid levels. At present, airlines are allowed to operate only a third of their earlier approved summer schedule.

Puri said housing and civil aviation were key customers of steel industry and that it was incumbent upon steel industry to ensure user industries get steel at comparable international prices while the government extends a helping hand to the steel industry’s growth.

According to government estimates, by 2030, the urban population of India would be 600 million. Puri said this highlights the opportunity that awaits steel makers.

Flagship programmes of the government like the smart cities mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation along with consumption in the urban transport sector could give a boost to steel consumption, he said.

“It is estimated 158 lakh tonne steel and 692 lakh tonne cement would be consumed in construction of all the sanctioned houses. So far, nearly 84 lakh tonne steel and 370 lakh tonne cement would have already been consumed in houses grounded/completed so far. An estimated 3.65 crore jobs would be generated in construction of all sanctioned houses," Puri said.

He said the need to grow cities vertically and regulations regarding earthquake resistant buildings are boosting steel consumption.


Related Media