The Modi govt has focussed on infrastructure spending and a lot of projects are going on. The impetus on infrastructure spending should continue and be enhanced since that is the backbone to India’s growth story and a basic requirement to be able to attract global investment. Attractive incentives should be introduced across industries especially construction and real estate to encourage environment friendly practices to achieve India’s Net Zero goals. There could be a system of fiscal incentives categorised on the basis of quantifiable goals achieved by different companies. Financial Express Online caught up with Dikshu C. Kukreja, Infrastructure Expert and Urban Planner and Principal Architect, CP Kukreja Architects to discuss budget expectations for Infrastructure: Excerpts:
With the country witnessing a large scale of development as well as redevelopment projects, how do you suggest that Budget 2022 can help support this momentum further?
In the last few years, India has been witnessing large-scale development taking place across the country and many redevelopment projects have also been announced by the Government. However, due to a very strict regulatory framework, many projects tend to overrun their original time schedule leading to an escalation in the initial cost of the project. Further delays happen because the additional costs are not being met on those projects and they end up going into a stalemate. It is important that the budget identifies such projects and provides for additional funding to complete these very significant and important projects which otherwise continue to languish for lack of funds. Also, it would be useful if the budget can address certain issues related to the release of land across cities that are in the possession of many government bodies such as Railways. These lands could be utilized for development and re-development projects which those cities badly need. Thirdly, a reduction in the GST on basic construction materials would also help in creating the momentum for large-scale development as well as redevelopment projects.
The country has been deeply affected due to climate change. As infrastructure is at the core of disaster management and rehabilitation, how do you feel the upcoming Budget should address the same?
India has set itself ambitious goals to deal with climate change and also we are moving ahead in a very progressive manner towards achieving these goals. However, meeting these climate change goals is also going to be disrupting certain businesses and certain industries. The budget requires identifying which sectors are getting affected by the shifts in technologies due to our adaptation of more environment-friendly practices and ensuring that those sections or sectors don’t face extremely adverse effects. The budget requires policies for supporting such sectors so that they can also gradually and smoothly shift to adopting more sustainable manufacturing practices.
To achieve India’s Net-Zero targets, as discussed at COP 26, Architects Planners will play a key role in aligning strategies and implementation. What are your expectations from the Budget in this regard?
India’s Net-Zero targets are praiseworthy and are demonstrating our commitment and responsibility towards the environment. The budget should offer fiscal incentives for projects which will be achieving certain quantifiable goals. This is going to encourage a more active proliferation of environment-friendly materials and technologies and will lead to a major change in India’s real estate and construction industry.
How do you believe the Budget can inspire a sustainable shift in the infrastructure sector?
The Budget can certainly inspire a sustainable shift in the infrastructure sector in various ways. For example, the real estate sector has been for many years now yearning for infrastructure status to be provided to it. That will lead to substantial foreign and domestic investment and catapult the sector into becoming one of the leading sectors of the Indian economy. Also for a sustainable shift, it is necessary that for a certain time period there is a reduction in GST on certain environment-friendly materials since that will also create the shift towards sustainability. Another aspect that can help the real estate sector is the enhancement in the interest deduction limits on housing loans.