AAI prepares for a new role: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will compete with private sector players for the new greenfield airport in Goa. It proposes to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to bid for the R3,000-crore project.
Tweet: AAI to participate in open bidding for Airport PPPs starting with Goa. Good to see this evolution into a confident competitive player.
Coastal ports to get a boost: In an effort to encourage traders to use the nation’s vast 7,500 km coastline for transporting local freight, the shipping ministry aims to collaborate with different stakeholders. The plan clearly indicates the government’s emphasis on inland and water transport.
Tweet: Good initiative by Shipping Ministry to develop 5 Coastal Ports thru SPVs involving SCI, Dredging Corpn, State Govts and Pvt Operators.
NITI Aayog gets off the ground: At the first meeting, the prime minister seeks the views of state chief ministers on the upcoming Budget and infrastructure projects. The states have also been requested to provide inputs on initiatives such as Make-in-India, Swachh Bharat, Smart Cities, Housing for All by 2022, among others.
Tweets: NITI Aayog to have its first working meeting on Feb 8. Will be interesting to watch prioritization of agenda from more than 15 programmes.
The way NITI Aayog is shaping up, would be a good idea to shut the Ministry of Programme Implementation & Statistics.
Seeking budgetary support for air connectivity: The aviation ministry seeks to create an ‘air services fund’ to offer airline connectivity to underserved regions. It also proposes to push for tax exemptions for the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry.
Tweet: Another undesirable subsidy scheme proposed by Aviation Ministry ~ wants R1000 cr in Budget to support airlines for remote areas connectivity.
Airports regulator slashes Delhi airport charges: The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority has proposed a massive cut in charges of Delhi’s International airport (as much as 78.4%) for 2014-19. While the move will bring cheer to passengers and airlines, the operator—DIAL—is unlikely to be happy with the development.
Tweet: Delhi Airport’s ability for fresh investments will be affected with Airport Regulator mandating major cuts in aeronautical & passenger fees.
Time to bury the idea of a railway budget?: The railway budget, which was introduced by the British, has outlived its utility. With the government’s huge focus on infrastructure, there is a growing body of opinion that favours a detailed outcomes report by key infrastructure ministries on their achievements, plans and programmes so that the railway budget day is replaced by an infrastructure day in Parliament.
Tweet: Repeating. Railway Budget is a colonial hangover and should be replaced with an Infra Budget Day. Infra Ministries should present outcomes.
Need to look at alternative funding sources: SEBI’s concept paper on a proposed framework for issuance and listing of debt securities by municipalities is a step in the right direction. The Bangalore Municipal Corporation was the first to issue a municipal bond of R125 crore with a state guarantee in 1997.
Tweet: Municipal Bonds & Pooled Finance have not received serious attention by Govt & Banks. About time they are pursued for off-budget financing.
– Vinayak Chatterjee is Chairman of Feedback Infra His Twitter handle: @Infra_VinayakCh
A weekly compilation of the author’s tweets— with a brief backgrounder—in the infra space, by Adite Banerjie