New Delhi–Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that infrastructure is the key to economic growth.

Jaitley said this in his inaugural address at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) India 2016 seminar on “Best Practices in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Long-term Infrastructure Financing”.

The one day seminar was organised in the national capital by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, with organisational support from the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Jaitley-USDelegates from BRICS countries and senior officials of the Finance Ministry, along with senior executives of private sector companies participated in the seminar.

It was organised in the run up to the BRICS Summit scheduled for October, 2016.

India assumed the chairmanship of BRICS in 2016.

According to Jaitley, an institutionalised forum amongst BRICS countries could serve as a regional knowledge hub with exchange of information facilitated through cloud sharing, and other electronic methods.

He pointed out that development projects in transportation sector like highways, ports and railways will be the area of mega economic activities as far as the infrastructure sector in India is concerned.

The Finance Minister further said that investment from both the public and private sector will be required for financing projects in the areas of health, education, sanitation, renewable energy, highways, ports and railways among others.

Besides, Jaitley outlined the government’s strategy to boost the economy through initiatives like “Make in India”, “100 smart cities”, and “liberalised FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) regime”.

He elaborated that the government gives high priority to infrastructure development and has taken a number of policy decisions like NIIF (National Investment and Infrastructure Fund), REITS (Real Estate Investment Trust), INVITS (Infrastructure Investment Trusts), IDFs (Infrastructure Debt Funds).

Jaitley added that BRICS member countries should share their experiences in financing and delivery of infra projects so that they can collectively move to higher quality and efficiency in the delivery of public services.

In his welcome address Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said that infrastructure financing, especially in clearly demarcated projects is the need of the hour.

In addition, Das said that NIIF will play a pivotal role especially in infrastructure financing of projects in areas of ports, highways and railways.