New Delhi (JPN/Bureau): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had called allocation to infrastructure sector his major achievement in Budget 2010. One year later, it is clear that the government has not been able to make good of this achievement. As India aims at double-digit growth rate, development of basic infrastructure will become a major thrust area for the minister this Budget.

There is a crying need to set up a dedicated infrastructure development fund as the government has failed to achieve its targets in areas like road construction and power generation. While the aim of building 20 kms of roads per day was mid way cut to 12 kms, power generation target has been reduced to 68000 Mw from 78000 Mw for the 11 plan.

As a high growth rate economy needs solid basic infrastructure, the 12th five-year plan would require an investment of USD 350 bn to turn India’s development wheels faster. This amount will have to be sourced both domestically and from foreign players. Some measures, thus, might be announced this Budget in this direction.

Even PM Manmohan Singh said that efforts were on in that direction at his meeting with editors. Sources reveal that the Finance Minister can in fact announce the setting up of an infrastructure development fund.

In the last few days, many meetings have taken place at various levels between officials of Finance Ministry, the Reserve Bank and Planning Commission.

Mukherjee may even tap the corporate debt market for this fund as the condition of foreign direct investment (FDI) has not been encouraging in the last year. FDIs plunged by 26 per cent in the first 11 months of 2010. The Public-Private partnership (PPP) model has not proved of much gain in this regard either.