"I have proposed to the Finance Ministry to talk to banks for more flexibility towards shipping and ports sectors. The Reserve Bank needs to provide directives to all leading banks to facilitate projects finance at concessional rates for ports and shipping projects," Gadkari told reporters on the sidelines of a Maritime Expo 2015 here.
    
"I have suggested a five-year moratorium for loans on existing and new projects followed by a three-year grace period on interest payment and then a 25-year debt repayment tenure for shipping and ports projects," Gadkari said.
    
The minister said the country needs to increase GDP growth rate to 8.5 per cent, which slipped to 4.5 per cent and now at 5.5 per cent.
    
Stating that developing the shipping sector will be his top priority, Gadkari said the Narendra Modi government has taken a slew of steps to develop sea ports and water ports, and the industry should invest in developing inland waterways.
    
"The government has initiated steps to develop water ports and sea ports and is looking to build satellite dry ports for connecting the land-locked areas with the nearest sea ports," Gadkari said.
    
Noting that China moves nearly 44 per cent of its traffic through waterways, he said the same is a paltry 3 per cent in the country while passenger movement through waterways is a miniscule 0.3 per cent.

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