The development comes in the backdrop of the Indian economy growing at its slowest pace in six years
The development comes in the backdrop of the Indian economy growing at its slowest pace in six years

Roads, energy, housing, telecom to drive NDA’s 100-trn infrastructure push

  • Finance ministry is drawing up a plan for the ‘national infrastructure pipeline’ for the next five years
  • 'This is the first time that the government is doing such an exercise, for which we require massive data points (from different departments),' said senior official

Roads, power, including renewables, housing and telecom projects are expected to get the lion’s share of the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) proposed 100 trillion infrastructure investment.

The finance ministry is drawing up a plan for the ‘national infrastructure pipeline’ for the next five years. The ministry set up a task force in September to identify technically and economically viable infrastructure projects that can be kick started in the current financial year and can be included in the 100 trillion plan for the sector over the next five years.

The task force, headed by economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty, is in discussion with over two dozen concerned ministries, and departments are working together towards reforms in the infrastructure space to attract private investment from top global companies, two senior government officials told Mint.

“This is the first time that the government is doing such an exercise, for which we require massive data points (from different departments). We have already had 15 meetings since September with the concerned departments," one of the government officials cited above said, adding that the finance ministry will finalize the roadmap towards the same in the next few weeks. “We are in the process of finalizing the details. There will also be focus on water and irrigation projects."

The development comes in the backdrop of the Indian economy growing at its slowest pace in six years even as the NDA government has set up an ambitious goal of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25. While the government has taken a slew of measures to address the slowdown including a massive corporate tax cut and sector-specific steps, giving renewed thrust to infrastructure projects is expected to generate employment and boost demand.

Apart from estimating the annual infrastructure investment costs, the committee is helping the government department identify appropriate sources of financing, and on measures to monitor the projects so that cost and time overrun is minimized.

While the task force was supposed to submit its report on the plan for 2019-20 by October 31, officials said the government in the next few weeks may come up with a detailed plan for the next five years instead.

“We will also review the plan every year," one of the officials said.

The national infrastructure pipeline will include greenfield and brownfield projects with an estimated cost of more than 100 crore each.

After reviewing nine projects across various sectors, among others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently sent a strong message to bureaucrats that his government will not accept any complacency as far as reforms are concerned and drew a red line on the ‘slow pace and outdated vision’ of governments that adversely affected India’s growth trajectory for decades.

“While reviewing key infra projects, I emphasised on two things: speedy completion of pending development works and upgrading infrastructure where needed," Modi had said on microblogging site Twitter.

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