FinMin sets up task force to identify infra projects for ₹100 lakh cr investment

economy, Finance ministry, infrastructure projects, National Infrastructure Pipeline
The earlier system of a five-year estimation of the ‘unincorporated’ sector has not been working well and the proposal now is for the survey to be done every year by the Ministry of Statistics.

The government on Saturday (September 7) said that it has constituted a high-level task force to identify infrastructure projects for ₹100 lakh crore investment by 2024-25 as India aims to become a $5 trillion economy.

The task force, headed by the economic affairs secretary, will draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline of ₹100 lakh crore, the finance ministry said in a statement. This would include greenfield and brownfield projects costing above ₹100 crore each.

The task force will comprise secretaries from different ministries, other senior officials and Niti Aayog CEO. It will identify technically feasible and financially/economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in 2019-20.

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Further, it has been asked to list the projects that can be included in the pipeline for each of the remaining five years between fiscals 2021-25.

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The task force, constituted by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will submit its report on the pipeline for 2019-20 by October 31, 2019 and on the indicative pipeline for 2021-25 by December-end, the ministry said.

To achieve the target of scaling India’s GDP to $5 trillion by 2024-25, the country needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (₹100 lakh crore) from the fiscal 2019-20 to 2024-25 on infrastructure, it added. In the past decade (fiscal 2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure.

The challenge is to step-up annual infrastructure investment so that lack of infrastructure does not become a binding constraint on the growth of the Indian economy, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech had said that ₹100 lakh crore would be invested on infrastructure over the next five years. These will include social and economic infrastructure projects.

“To implement an infrastructure program of this scale, it is important that projects are adequately prepared and launched,” the ministry said, adding that in pursuance of this an annual infrastructure pipeline would be developed.

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“To achieve this task, a Task Force under the chairmanship of Secretary (DEA) has been constituted by Union Finance Minister to draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline for each of the years from FY 2019-20 to FY 2024-25,” it said.

As per the terms of reference (ToR) of the task force, it has also been asked to estimate annual infrastructure investment/capital costs, guide ministries in identifying appropriate sources of financing and suggest measures to monitor the projects to minimise cost and time overruns.

Other qualifications for inclusion in the pipeline for the current year will include availability of a detailed project report (DPR), feasibility of implementation, inclusion in the financing plan and readiness/availability of administrative sanction.

Each ministry/department would be responsible for monitoring of projects so as to ensure their timely and within-cost implementation, the finance ministry said.

The task force will also enable robust marketing of the pipeline of projects requiring private investment through the India Investment Grid (IIG) and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), among others.

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