India’s coming infrastructure boom

India’s coming infrastructure boom

Indian PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate the new metro in Kochi on Saturday. Modi will be the first official passenger

Photo: Kochi Metro

Photo: Kochi Metro

Indian PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate the new metro in Kochi on Saturday. Modi will be the first official passenger on the train, which began construction in 2012.

The completion of the Kochi Metro is just one part of a nationwide effort to boost India’s railway infrastructure, which has lagged behind the country’s economic growth. Earlier this year, Mr Modi earmarked $59 billion for rail modernisation, as well as airport and road projects.

The prime minister has also sought to inject new life into the largely state-owned industry by selling off shares in rail companies. Additionally, state-owned Indian Railways recently announced it will end the monopoly of another government conglomerate—the Steel Authority of India—and begin purchasing $700 million worth of steel from the private sector.

Today’s opening in Kochi is not without controversy; local officials have accused PM Modi of snubbing legislators and the metro company’s top advisor by stealing the spotlight at Saturday’s opening. The move further highlight’s the Indian leader’s desire to show that infrastructure investment is paying dividends under his watch.