Thursday, January 24, 2013
HELPLESSNESS IN INFRASTRUCTURE GROWTH : A SURE SHOT WAY TO TAKE INDIAN GROWTH TO DOGS
Infrastructure sector is no doubt the next gen growth engine of Indian economy and it is recognised by planners, polity, government and all the well meaning citizens of the country. But precious little is happening or is being done to realize this goal. We just hear its importance to the Indian growth story off and on by all classes of Indian citizenry mentioned above but when it comes to the actual ground reality no worthwhile progress can be seen.
First of all the country has a very limited and distorted picture of as to what constitutes infrastructure. Strangely enough the water resource management and utilisation and control of river waters in the best possible manner is not a major postulate of our policies though it affects the lives of about 70% of Indians. In the transportation sector, both for men and material, the country's approach is lopsided and the major stress has been laid on road sector which is far less efficient than the railway system and will always be a big drag on economy because of dependence on the oil sector imports, in the light of continuously increasing world demand and drying up of world resources.
Coming to the two much talked about sectors i.e. road infrastructure and power production infrastructure, Indian government, the so called facilitator has miserably failed because of little coordination between the different agencies. Firstly, the procedures for allotting a project are cumbersome, tedious and many a times even murky. After allotment of the project, getting hold of the land is even a much more difficult process so much so that many contracting firms have started surrendering these projects. Power sector seems to be in a bigger mess because of lack of planning and coordination between different government agencies. Companies have been made to spend billions of rupees for creating a big power generation capacity but no thought was given to ensuring adequate and timely fuel supplies or creating matching transmission and distribution infrastructure.With this kind of a disturbing picture one is forced to think if India is on the path of global leadership or self destruction.
In comparison, when the Chinese economy slowed down to 8% plus growth, Chinese president said that infrastructure development is the key to recovery and followed it up by unveiling of $ 157 billion of such projects. But there will be no impediments or loose ends in the carrying out these projects. Let Indian government draw a leaf out of Chinese successful growth story and that leaf is nothing but a whole hearted, sincere and honest approach for the good of the nation without motivated interests of any kind.