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Last updated: 07 Jan, 2020  

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Bikky Khosla | 07 Jan, 2020

The Centre made a big bang announcement last week. Making a brief statement on the contents of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) at a press conference, the Union Finance Minister said that the Modi government is committing Rs 102 lakh crore for the next 5 years. She added that another Rs 3 lakh crore worth of projects would be added shortly. For an economy that is tottering, this is, no need to say, good news. The program, tough sounds ambitious, is welcome.

A Task Force was constituted to draw up the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for each of the years from FY 2019-20 to FY 2024-25, and its first meeting was held in September 2019. Subsequently several meetings were held with various departments, ministries, corporates, banks, other financial institutions and industry associations, etc. And now the government indicated that it would examine the recommendations of the Task Force and take action early.

The report shows that about 42% of such identified projects are already under implementation, 19% are under development and 31% are at the conceptual stage. It adds that during the fiscals 2020 to 2025, sectors such as energy (24%), roads (19%), urban (16%), and railways (13%) amount to around 70% of the projected capital expenditure. Overall, Rs 1 lakh crore, Rs 19.63 lakh crore, Rs 14 lakh crore and Rs 2.5 lakh crore would be spent respectively on port, road, railways and airport projects. These figures look great.

But the task ahead is challenging. It has been informed that a Task Force would meet various stakeholders over coming months to discuss how to actualise the projects, but till now it is not even clear how the private-public working framework shall function as part of NIP. Also, success would largely depend on how effectively the government can address some lingering infrastructure investment related issues like delays in land acquisition processes, enforcement of contracts and delay in court-case resolutions, etc.

I invite your opinions.

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