Cannot find table 1.
Budget Wish 2012-13: Putting infra ducks back in a rowMuch has been said about the now popularly termed policy paralysis over the past two years that has led to uncertainty in implementation of and financing to infrastructure sectors. With the single exception of the roads sector, none of the major sectors have met expected growth levels this year. Some obvious solutions can put the industries back in the fast lane, as Parvesh Minocha and Neeta Ramnath suggest. Analysing some of the critical infra sectors, they recommend what the Budget should ideally emphasise this year, and some urgent steps that are needed to augment the graph.The Indian infrastructure story has suffered as much implementation paralysis over the past couple of years as it has policy paralysis. Even while NHAI will bid out its highest road kilometres in this year, it has not had a chairman for the entire year. The roads ministry did not have a full time Director General (DG) for an even longer period. The Railways have not increased passenger fares for the general public for over eight years, and have created less than 20 per cent new rail lines since independence than what was created by the British. While world class airports got created in the major metros, the story of minor airports and hinterland connectivity remains dismal. Most of the airlines have been bleeding. Less than 10 per cent of the capacity licensed to minor ports is getting implemented, container terminals remain choked, connectivity remains dismal, and many of the projects "successfully bid out" have not moved at all in the last two years. The confusion over rail connectivity projects is so serious that some ports are known to be operating rail lines for nearly a year, without knowing how much and when they will get their fair share of the revenue from the railways.India could be one of the most disadvantaged countries whether it is the modal mix—with roads carrying more than 1.5 times the rail freight traffic and coastal shipping being minuscule—or on account of road fatalities.Ports: Regulator neededConsider this: India will not achieve even 50 per cent of our planned capacity addition as per 11th Five year plan. Against a plan of bidding out 24 PPP projects in FY12, we are unlikely to reach even 10.While our container ports are hitting capacity ceilings—JNPT handled 100 per cent in FY11; Chennai cannot evacuate containers, leading to congestion surcharge of $100 per TEU—India has bid out three key container terminals (at Ennore, JNPT and Chennai) in the last two years but has been unable to get them off the ground. All the bid-out terminals were not structured well, leading to single bids only. Even after the bidding, the terminals are delayed. Ennore, whose agreement was signed in August 2010, has not achieved financial closure. JNPT IV has not been able to sign the concession agreement due to lack of clarity on stamp duty! And the decision on the Chennai mega terminal award is yet to be taken.It is not as though the national policymakers are unaware of the obvious advantages that coastal shipping and inland waterways transportation bring: environment-friendly, and can bring our logistics costs down dramatically. However, our fiscal policies have penalised coastal shipping (24 committees and study groups since independence haven't been able to lift coastal shipping in India), and practically no investments have come in inland waterways.Recommendations: The following urgent action steps are needed to jumpstart reforms in the sector: