The Government on Saturday constituted an inter-ministerial task force to draw up annual National Infrastructure Pipeline for each of the five years, starting this fiscal i.e. 2019-20 to fiscal year (FY) 2024-25.
The task force will be headed by Economic Affairs Secretary while the Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, Expenditure Secretary and Secretaries of various infrastructure ministries along with Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary of Economic Affairs Department will be members. It will submit its Report on the pipeline for FY 2019-20 by October 31, 2019 and on the indicative pipeline for FY 2021-25 by December 31, 2019.
The terms of reference of the task force will include identifying technically feasible and financially/ economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in FY 2019-20, listing the projects that can be included in the pipeline for each of the remaining 5 years between FY 2021-25, estimating annual infrastructure investment/capital costs, guiding the Ministries in identifying appropriate sources of financing and suggesting measures to monitor the projects so that cost and time overrun is minimized.
A statement issued by the Finance Ministry said that availability of quality infrastructure is a pre-requisite to achieve broad-based and inclusive growth on a sustainable basis. Investment in infrastructure is also necessary for sustaining the high growth rate of India.
To achieve the GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-25, India needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (Rs. 100 lakh crore) over these years on infrastructure. In the past decade (FY 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, highlighted that Rs.100 lakh crore would be invested on infrastructure over the next five years. Infrastructure projects 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. In pursuance of this, an annual infrastructure pipeline would be developed.
Announcement to set up task force has come after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement on August 23 of various measures to boost the growth.
One such measure was setting up an inter-ministerial task force to finalise the pipeline of infrastructure projects. This initiative is expected to boost growth and creation of jobs. These projects would be monitored actively to accelerate capital expenditure and investments in the economy.