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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

Insatiable Thirst

Power, telecom, roads: there's no money to finance projects

Insatiable Thirst
Insatiable Thirst
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

WHERE on earth is the money going to come from? With the domestic kitty plunging to new lows, India's infrastructure finance needs are beginning to look mind-boggling and unquenchable. For the power sector alone, Rs 1,68,000 crore will be required in the ninth five-year plan period (1997-2002). Between now and the end of the plan in 2002, the country needs a staggering Rs 1,20,000 crore for setting up just basic telephone networks, not to mention the high licence fees. The anticipated annual spend for roads and railways is Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 7,000 crore, respectively. Upgradation of seaports would easily gobble up another Rs 5,000 crore.

"We definitely don't have domestic savings of that order, on which the investment rate depends," points out Planning Commission member G.V. Ramakrishna. "The option is to take recourse to external financing. (But) the problem here is that unlike Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and China, India has not devised adequate ways of attracting foreign investment in infrastructural...

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