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Q: What is the National Infrastructure Pipeline? What is its significance for India’s development. (15 marks, 250 words)
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Ministry of Finance estimates that to achieve a GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-25, India needs to spend about $1.5 trillion (Rs 111 lakh crore) over these years in infrastructure. Keeping this in mind, government has
launched National Infrastructure Pipeline (2020-25) with projected infrastructure investment of around Rs 111 lakh crores. It also envisages improving project preparation and attracting investment, both domestic and foreign, in infrastructure.
Progress So Far:
» The NIP currently has 8,964 projects with a total investment of more than Rs 108 lakh crore
under different stages of implementation.
» Status of Projects under NIP
» Transportation Sector Dominates the NIP
» Jointly funded by Central Government, State Government and Private Sector
Some steps to improve the implementation of NIP:
» Invest India Grid (IIG): NIP is hosted on the Invest India Grid (IIG) platform and provides and provides opportunities states/UT and ministries to collate all major infrastructure projects at a single location. It is thus a centralized portal to track and review project progress across all economic and social infrastructure sub-sectors. It also provides the project sponsoring authorities to showcase investment opportunities to national and international investors.
» Project Monitoring Group (PMG): It is an institutional mechanism put in place by the government for resolution of issues related to large-scale projects. It is also involved in fast tracking of approvals/ clearances for projects with an anticipated investment of Rs 500 crore and above. Now it has been proposed to integrate NIP and PMG portals. PMG portal will pick up data, as per requirements (project cost of Rs 500 crore or more), from the NIP database. This will save substantial time and effort by Ministries and States/UTs and ease monitoring of large-scale projects.
- Economic Development: Well-planned NIP projects will enable more infra projects, grow businesses, and create more jobs. It will also promote ease of doing business and enhance export competitiveness of Indian products.
- Inclusive Growth: Improved infrastructure will improve ease of living and will provide equitable access to infrastructure for all making growth more inclusive.
- Government: Enhanced economic activities will lead to creation of additional fiscal space by improving revenue base of government. It also ensures quality of expenditure focused on productive areas.
- Advantages for Developers: NIP provides a better view of project supply, provides time to be better prepared for project building, reduces aggressive bids/failures in project delivery and ensure enhanced access to source of finance because of increased investor confidence.
- Banks/Financial Institutions/Investors: Confidence in the identified projects is likely to be higher and they are less likely to suffer stress given active project monitoring, thereby less likely of NPAs.
- Improving Project Preparation Process to avoid delays and reduce costs. The preparation framework shall consist of a transparent policy and legislative framework, an empowered public institution for infrastructure planning, multi-stage reviews, audits, and approvals for quality assurance etc.
- Enhancing execution capacity of private sector participants – There is a need for a deep pool of experienced developers with the required competence and execution capacity. Here collaboration and joint ventures with strong global infrastructure developers can be crucial.
- Robust Enabling Environment through appropriate policy framework and a well-developed public institutional capacity.
- Institutionalization and Efficiency of Dispute Resolution
- Steps already taken: The Commercial Courts Act 2015, The Specific Relief (Amendment) Act 2018 and the New Delhi Arbitration Centre Act 2019
- What more can be done? Ministry level committees to resolve complex contractual disputes as mediation mechanism that can settle disputes out of courts.
- Strengthening infrastructure quality – Creating a National Framework for Infrastructure Quality for each sector based on global and national standards.
Overall, the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) is a transformative initiative that aims to propel India’s economic growth, improve living standards and position country as a global powerhouse.