Govt task force lays out Rs 111-lakh-crore infra investment road map

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Published: April 30, 2020 5:01 AM

The task force under economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty submitted its final report on the “national infrastructure pipeline” (NIP) to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The task force under economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty submitted its final report on the “national infrastructure pipeline” (NIP) to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (File image)The task force under economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty submitted its final report on the “national infrastructure pipeline” (NIP) to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (File image)

With the economy being battered by the pandemic, a government task force on Wednesday firmed up a road map for capital investments of Rs 111 lakh crore in infrastructure over six years through FY25, pledging 71% of the expenditure for energy, roads, urban development and railways, and envisaging a key role for private investors.

The task force under economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty submitted its final report on the “national infrastructure pipeline” (NIP) to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. An interim report of the task force was released in December 2019, which had envisaged investments of over Rs 102 lakh crore between FY20 and FY25.

The latest report has called for a set of reforms and suggested ways of financing it by deepening the corporate bond markets (including those of municipal bonds), setting up development financial institutions for the infrastructure sector, accelerating monetisation of infrastructure assets and land, etc.

According to an official statement, of the total expected capital expenditure of Rs 111 lakh crore, projects worth Rs 44 lakh crore (40% of NIP) are under implementation, projects worth Rs 33 lakh crore (30%) are at the conceptual stage and those worth Rs 22 lakh crore (20%) are under development. Information regarding the stage of certain projects worth Rs 11 lakh crore (10%) are unavailable at the moment. The highest investments are proposed for the energy sector (24%), followed by roads (18%), urban development (17%) and railways (12%).

The Centre (39%) and the states (40%) are expected to have almost equal share in implementing the infrastructure pipeline, followed by the private sector (21%).

The government aims to raise the share of the private sector to 30% in coming years. This requires massive reforms in the way the PPP model is designed, given the poor response of the private sector to such projects over the years.

Elevated investments in infrastructure will be key to ensuring that India recovers from the Covid-19 crisis at the earliest. Already, several analysts have projected negative to sharply negative economic growth for the country for FY21, although a fragile recovery is expected in the next fiscal.

The task force has recommended that three committees be set up: One panel will monitor the NIP progress and eliminate delays; a steering committee in each infrastructure ministry for following up implementation; and a steering committee in the department of economic affairs in the finance ministry for raising financial resources for the NIP.

While basic monitoring will vest with the ministry and project agency, there is a need for higher level of monitoring on reforms to be undertaken and to deal with issues of stalled projects,” it said.

The NIP project database will shortly be hosted on the India Investment Grid (IIG) to provide visibility to the NIP and help in its financing with prospective investors, both domestic and foreign. Each line ministry/state would further add new projects and update their respective project details at pre-defined time intervals so that updated data are available to prospective investors, the finance ministry said in a statement.

While releasing the interim report in December 2019, Sitharaman had said the proposed spending would be front-loaded and backed by concomitant reforms in various areas – public-private partnership models, enforcement of contracts and dispute resolution ― to achieve intended results.

These projects are on top of the Rs 51 lakh crore spent by the Centre and the states in the last six years, the minister had said.

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