March 2017: The Economic Times had organised India Infrastructure Summit 2017 at the Hyatt Regency New Delhi on March 09, 2017 with the theme Building Sustainable India. Mr. Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, HCC participated as a panellist for discussion on Connecting India for which Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & highways and Shipping was the key note speaker.
The panel focused on the vital backbone of any infrastructure – transportation and connectivity involving a network of roads, waterways, shipping lanes and freight pathways.
Articulating a clear sense of confidence in development of infrastructure in India, Mr. Nitin Gadkari said, “So far, a lot of the development and projects in the transport sector inevitably get delayed due to clearance hurdles, regulatory problems and land acquisition. But all that has changed or is set to change. We need to assess what the country is paying due to stay orders from the judiciary in infrastructure projects. We need to change the atmosphere and improve decision-making process.” The minister has set ambitious targets for the transportation sector and is determined to meet them.
Expressing his views, Mr. Gulabchand said, “It is very essential to create an ecosystem as the foundation upon which the development of infrastructure hinges. The amount of infrastructure we are talking about is huge and yet, if it is developed right then it ushers in the kind of growth whereby this huge amount of infrastructure will soon begin to be inadequate. But achieving this scale of growth is not possible in a piecemeal fashion. All the cogs need to function in tandem with each other – the PPPs, the financial sector support, government clearances and policies, etc.”
“The financial infrastructure of the country is woefully inadequate to deal with what we are planning to do. We also need to look at the entire procurement system and assess how to better share the risks between the private and public sectors,” he added.
Efficiency is one of the key requirements for time bound and speedy development in this sector and a corresponding emphasis on governance is also important in a country with the diversities that India has and where the changes can perhaps have a radical impact in the process of transformation, said Karan Adani.
Clearly, the government, through its policies, processes and regulatory framework has a huge impact on the development of this sector. But with this government’s declared focus on making the development of this sector a priority, there is a clear road ahead.