India to merge shipping, roads ministries

India to merge shipping, roads ministries

The Indian government will re-merge the ministries of surface transport and shipping as part of its plan to spur growth in infrastructure.

The move was announced Wednesday by T R Baalu, the country's new minister of road transport and highways.

The minister said that policies will be changed, if necessary, to build infrastructure rapidly to meet increased economic and industrial growth.

India is planning a major highway project to connect Delhi and the major port cities of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Baalu ruled out privatization of Shipping Corp. of India, the Times of New Delhi reported, saying the government will study plans to modernize and expand its fleet.

The newspaper quoted the minister as saying the government would also consider introducing a tonnage tax on shipping lines to bolster Indian shipping.

Baalu backed private port terminal leases to spur competition and improve operations.