NEW DELHI (AFP) - India needs to double infrastructure spending to achieve the high growth needed to lift millions out of poverty, PM Manmohan Singh said Tuesday. The target looks ambitious but not impossible, Singh told a conference on infrastructure in New Delhi, saying he was hoping for more foreign and domestic private sector money to help the government reach its goal. India will have to spend about one trillion dollars on improving its dilapidated highways, ports, airports, power plants and other infrastructure over the five years to 2016-17 to attain its annual growth target of 10 percent, Singh said. That is up from 500 billion dollars in planned infrastructure spending in the five years to 2011-12 announced by Indias Planning Commission, a government agency that establishes growth and investment goals. Indias shabby infrastructure is seen by economists as the main impediment to accelerating growth in the country of nearly 1.2 billion people and closing the gap with neighbouring giant China. For eliminating poverty and providing productive employment for our young population in the near future, we must aim at accelerating the pace of economic growth to about 10 percent per annum, Singh said. Improving infrastructure is extremely relevant to our economic future, he said. The demands of Indias expanding economy has pushed its infrastructure to its limits. Power cuts last hours, congested ports delay loading, and the nations roads are notoriously potholed. Economists reckon Indias infrastructure wipes as much as two percentage points off annual economic growth. Indias economic growth is severely constrained by poor infrastructure, Manish Agarwal, a senior consultant at KPMG Advisory Services, told AFP. Indias government, whose budget is already overstretched by hefty spending on anti-poverty and other social programmes, has been courting foreign and domestic private investment in infrastructure. But the money has been slow in coming as investors have been deterred by slow government decision-making, regulatory hurdles and issues such as corruption. In a bid to attract more private money, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the government planned to allow private firms to issue infrastructure bonds in addition to state-run firms. The government aimed to develop a healthy and vibrant corporate bond market for financing infrastructure, Mukherjee said. Indias economy is forecast to grow by 7.2 percent in the current financial year ending this month, and expand by 8.5 percent next year. The government expects the economy to return to pre-financial crisis growth levels of nine percent in 2011-12, the last year of the current-five year plan. Singh pointed to Indias mobile telecommunications boom which has taken the communications revolution to the doorstep of the common man as an example of the success that private sector investment can achieve. Private participation in infrastructure development is indeed a feasible proposition and can help expand infrastructure much faster than it would have relying only on public resources, he said.