NEW DELHI :
Roads, power, housing and telecom projects are expected to receive the lion’s share of the National Democratic Alliance government’s (NDA’s) proposed ₹100 trillion infrastructure investment plan over the next five years.
The finance ministry which is drawing up the ‘national infrastructure pipeline’ had set up a task force in September to identify technically and economically viable infrastructure projects that can start in this fiscal and be included in the overall infrastructure plan.
The task force headed by economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty is in talks with more than two dozen ministries and departments concerned which are combining their efforts in the infrastructure space to attract investment from top global companies, said two senior government officials, requesting anonymity.
“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 departments concerned," said one of the government officials cited above, adding the finance ministry will prepare a road map 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 official said.
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 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 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 guiding the government departments in identifying 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 the report on the plan for 2019-20 by 31 October, the 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 last week sent a strong message to bureaucrats stating 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 Twitter.