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The last one year has been another “mixed” one, for the economy in general an infrastructure in particular. Progress on some fronts, stagnancy on others and deterioration on a few.

For example, we have seen progress in roads, stagnancy in water and, arguably, deterioration in conventional power generation.

While programmes like Saubhagya have mostly met the targets, others like Amrut have, in many cases, failed to achieve them.

While some new sources of finance like sovereign funds and private equity funds are beginning to invest in operational projects, “conventional” sources like commercial banks are simply unwilling to lend any more to greenfield or stalled infrastructure projects.

While there are new dispute resolution processes and avenues, the bureaucracy is still wary of taking or accepting decisions and pushes everything to a judiciary that is overloaded and not always the best “last word”. Meanwhile, projects and promoters face increasing costs, leading to unviability and financial distress.

While programmes like UDAY have sought to encourage fiscal discipline, the rush to waive loans or push spending is resulting in the opposite.

The upcoming election is, for sure, casting its shadow. While some fear that there will be no action or reforms for months, others are concerned that the government will throw money on populist but unworthy projects and initiatives.

The lack of political certainty means that once again we are resigned to waiting for the elections to be over, before we can hope for action and change.

The new government, regardless of party and regardless of its numbers, will hopefully be strong or brave or united enough to take bold new steps to push the pace of infrastructure development. Without getting rid of policies and programmes that work.

The mission of this Forum is to discuss what those steps are, by examining what has succeeded and what has failed, in terms of policies and programmes, in a dispassionate and candid manner. The outcomes of these discussions will be presented to the new/next government and, we very much hope, acted upon.

Copyright @2017 India Infrastructure Forum