Are we seeing some pleasing signs of a huge change in the way public projects are looked at? Two stories published in Monday’s edition of this newspaper suggest that this is indeed the case. First, the Railway Board says it is keen on getting foreign firms with proven expertise to make stuff such as locomotives and wheels by setting up manufacturing plants in India.
Second, the Airports Authority of India is expected to invite global engineering and construction companies to bid for the modernization of Kolkata airport. There are hopefully other similar cases as well.
Government agencies in charge of public projects have traditionally been forced to depend on local companies. India does have a few excellent engineering firms. Some parts of the government engineering corps, too, are of high quality. But, it is still a good idea to also use global expertise to build India’s infrastructure. It will benefit consumers.