'Urgent need for consistency in policies for infra growth'

Tags: Economy
Lack of consistency in policies needs urgent redressal apart from removing procedural bottlenecks to keep India's infrastructure ball rolling, the government said today.

"Removing procedural bottlenecks, improving governance, and above all maintaining consistency in government infrastructure policies are some issues that need to be urgently addressed" for sustainable infrastructure development, the pre-budget Economic Survey tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

The key document expressed concerns that as many as 110 out of 239 central sector infrastructure projects, each costing Rs 1,000 crore or above, have reported delays, which range up to 26 months in case of steel, coal, power and petroleum projects.

"The total original cost of implementation of these 239 projects was about Rs 7,39,882 crore and their anticipated completion cost is likely to be Rs 8,97,684 crore, implying an overall cost overrun of Rs 1,57,802 crore (21.3 per cent of the original cost," it said.

It said: "Infrastructure will continue to be a bottleneck for growth and an obstacle to poverty reduction" unless sectors particularly transport, energy and communication, put under enormous burden due to recent years rapid economic growth, are significantly improved.

Also, it stressed the need for tackling on war-footing issues like problems in land acquisition, delays in regulatory approvals and environment clearances.

Pinning hopes on revival of investment it said, "Need has been felt to kickstart stalled infrastructure projects by stepping up infrastructure investment and increased private participation will usher in desired funds".

Government is promoting public-private-partnership for bringing private sector efficiencies in creation of economic and social infrastructure assets and for delivery of quality public services.

By end of March 2014, there were 1,300 projects in the sector with the total project cost of Rs 6,94,040 crore, it said adding to promote PPP, government is providing viability gap funding, support for project development, capacity building programmes and other tool kits, the survey said.

The survey mentioned that while growth in power and fertilisers segments was higher, sectors like coal, steel, cement and refinery witnessed lower growth.

"In the road sector, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) posted negative growth of 33 per cent during 2013-14 as compared to the 26.5 per cent growth during 2012-13," says the Survey.

As the survey highlights lack of consistency in government policies, the Transport Ministry last week had also blamed inconsistency in policies as well as warring ministries for brining India's road sector to its knees.

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