New Delhi: The government is conducting an international search to recruit a panel of 10 international consultants to research big-ticket infrastructure projects that can be developed jointly with the private sector.
The finance ministry will accordingly float an international tender in the next fortnight. Once recruited, the advisors will also be made available to state governments.
The government hopes that this will help kickstart its strategy of pushing public-private partnership (PPPs) in infrastructure. It has so far failed to find the right mix of projects.
“There are just two to threedomestic companies which at present prepare detailed project reports for PPP. There are concerns regarding lack of transparency in the price that they charge state governments to prepare these reports. Once the panel is in place, the states can invite financial bids to shortlist a consultant,” a government official said.
The official added having a panel of consultants to choose from would also improve the quality of reports for the state infrastructure projects. The international consultants will be short-listed through technical bids. The panel is expected to be ready in the next three months.
This aside, the finance ministry has also prepared a two-stage utilization of the $3 million (Rs13.22 crore) technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank to pay for infrastructure consultancy. In the first phase, 13 states have been invited to sign an agreement with the Centre, on a first-cum-first serve basis. So far, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have indicated their willingness.
States signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the first year of the agreement will have to provide PPP projects worth Rs750 crore in at least two sectors. In the second year, they will have to provide Rs1,000 crore of PPP projects in three sectors and in the third year provide Rs1,500 crore of PPP projects in four sectors.
The official said the Centre would provide states the services of a project or risk management expert, a data manager and a panel of three legal experts. They will work with state governments during the three year period but will be paid by the Centre.
The finance ministry is also talking to credit rating agencies to formulate a structure of rating PPP projects and the special purpose vehicles in order to allow the companies to be able toeasily raise long term finances for the projects.