July 14, 2009
   From The CEO's Desk
Cabinet Committee on infrastructure - one too many?

The Budget has been announced and the postmortem is over. We gained some, we lost too. But now we need to carry on. The government too needs to do its bit. I think attaching topmost priority to the infrastructure sector and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constituting a high-level Cabinet Committee on infrastructure is a good move.

This will hopefully put the implementation of the various infrastructure sector projects on the fast track and will help monitor the performance of various agencies involved. If we consider the SMEs, lack of proper infrastructure - especially energy, railways, roads and national highways, ports, airports, telecommunications, information technology, etc. - is a major concern.

This is underscored by a new survey by the research arm of Moody's which has said that the country's "infrastructure development is likely to be one of the key drivers of industrial activity, which will see an upturn in a few months".

It's an undeniable fact that for long inadequate roads, ports and railways have long held India back from realizing its full growth potential. Now there is hope at the end of the tunnel. However, monitoring of the infrastructure projects needs to be stringent and sans delays. Usually infrastructure projects are mired by corruption and delays and the fact that infrastructure committees have been around for years without much sheen, the newly-formed committee needs to shed its earlier tag and work on a war footing.

However at a given point of time, there are as many as 1,500 projects being implemented simultaneously and expecting the newly-formed committee to look into all these projects (which are above Rs 150 crore) and their problems is a Herculean task which makes me wonder how it is going to make it happen.

Let's just hope that it does not die an untimely death as have earlier committees!

Bikky Khosla
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