In an exclusive interview to INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY, Debjani Chakrabarti, Director Highways, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) elucidates some of the key funding strategies being utilised by India as a part of the country's ambitious Rs 7 trillion roads building programme.
This Union Budget came against the backdrop of a raft of reforms, economic slowdown and fiscal stress. While the Budget proposals will incrementally contribute to economic expansion with its de facto elements of stimulus, the pace of growth will largely be due to factors outside the Budget.
Historically, infrastructure projects in India have been funded on a mix of debt and equity. The current trends suggest so. Over the past 15 days, as many as three initial public offerings-IRB, HUDCO and PSP Projects - have hit Dalal Street, raising more than Rs 6,000 crore, a testimony to the fact that the bond market is gaining pace after the 2008 turmoil.
Budget should focus on higher funds allocation to infrastructure and improving domestic macroeconomic fundamentals
The priority of the Budget should be to improve the macroeconomic fundamentals of the country and make efforts to meet the fiscal deficit targets of last year. The onus should be on productive utilisation of funds.
India will need $1.5 trillion of investment in infrastructure over the next 10 years. Of this nearly $10 billion is required in sewage treatment plants. Similarly, about $8 billion is required to be invested in ensuring regular drinking water supply.
Though Public-Private Partnership contracts are the mainstay of infra projects, evidence of PPP performance in terms of value-for-money and efficiency is mixed and often unavailable, says Sangeeta Lakhi, Senior Partner, Rajani Associates.