Specialised Outfit Will Assist Indian Infrastructure Reform

Bangalore, May 22: | Updated: May 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
The National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCEAR) on Thursday strongly favoured the establishment of a specialized outfit on the lines of PFI of the United Kingdom to deal with the complexities of infrastructure reform in India. Such an agency may be set up at the level of Prime Minister.

According to NCEARs chief advisor Gajendra Haldea, the Indian experience has revealed that the incumbent players cannot be trusted with formulation of reform strategies that may strike at the roots of their powers or privileges.

In his presentation on lessons from infrastructure reform in India, at the World Bank-NCEAR ABCDE conference, Mr Haldea also called for professionalising the reform process especially when moving from public ownership to private participation was a complex phenomenon.

It requires a change in the prevailing mindset and practices. Without adequate professional and expert input, infrastructure reform will continue to limp, thereby imposing a heavy cost on the economy, he opined.

He however, noted that the formulation of the National Telecom Policy-1999, evolution of the Electricity Bill, the role played by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on energy in enlarging debate on the power bill and formulation of a concession framework for privatization of highways were notable examples.

These episodes establish the critical role of open consultation and transparent policy making.