CII's blueprint for speeding up infrastructure projects

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New Delhi, Aug 10 (UNI) The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) today suggested a ten-point agenda to boost infrastructure development, including appointment of a Special Envoy to co-ordinate and facilitate clearance of projects across Ministeries and State Governments.

The Envoy would also monitor the implementation of key projects critical to development of the sector.

CII also suggested establishing a 'Centre for Excellence' for projects in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, which will help build capacities for project conception, development and implementation.

Investment requirements of the Infrastructure sector have been estimated at 500 billion dollars in the Eleventh Five Year Plan.

The Confederation said the government should bring out a status paper on implementation of various projects, giving reasons for the delays in critical and large projects.

On expediting the implementation of road projects, it said timely implementation of National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) could be brought about through greater emphasis on corridor management. The philosophy should be to deliver maximum throughput in terms of speed and traffic volume while minimising the cost of operation and enhancing road safety.

Regarding infrastrucrure development of the civil aviation sector, the industry body sought 'Declared Goods Status' for Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). By doing so ATF will attract a uniform sales tax and excise duty of four per cent each across India.

The step will hasten the process of modernisation of key airports in the country, especially Kolkata and Chennai airports, whose implementation have been considerably delayed.

Besides, setting up a Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority along the lines of Telecom Regulatory Authority would ensure that the users interest are met by the airport operators. The move will be seen as a passenger friendly measure.

It sought relaxation of the criteria for international operations from the current norms of five years on the domestic route.

Regarding ports and shipping, CII recommended corporatisation of major ports to help them operate on commercial lines through greater autonomy and flexibility in decision-making.

To address the issues relating to port connectivity, CII said speeding up port connectivity projects would enable efficient movement of cargo.

The regulatory authority needs to layout the plan for creation of this infrastructure and clearly assign responsibilities for its development.

Further, for the development of new ports, an adequate inland network of supporting infrastructure in terms of roads, railway linkages, and power facilities needs to be created. Port related support infrastructure such as Container Freight Stations, Tank terminal operators should also get infrastructure status under Section 80 I, the CII said in a release.

On Power generation, CII called for uniform central guidelines for time-bound clearances for land, water, fuel, environment and forest and power evacuation.

The benefit of Mega Power Project Status needs to be extended to all power generation projects, including captive power plants.

Besides, a Uniform National Policy needs to be put in place for harnessing capacity from captive power plants.

Focussing on renovation and modernisation of old thermal units was essential to increase efficiency of the plants.

CII said promotion of generation of power from renewable sources of energy like wind and solar was critical in an environment where there are strict limits to use of non-renewable sources of energy.

Its suggestion for power transmission and distribution was creation of a Golden Quadrangle Project for power transmission highway. "A level playing field needs to be ensured for all players in transmission and capacity addition to encourage more PPPs as well as standalone private investments in the area," it said.

Similarly, the PPP model in distribution also needs to be encouraged. Tariff Rationalisation was essential and the government ought to implement the recommendations of the National Tariff Policy document, CII said .

It was also essential to harmonise Centre and State regulatory issues.

The CII said Nuclear Energy was the key to energy security of India. It recommended Private sector partnership in setting up nuclear power plants in India.

CII said amendments to the Indian Atomic Energy Act will enable opening up of the power and fuel markets to Indian and foreign private companies and will encourage greater private sector participation.

A Civilian Nuclear Liability Law with Government engaged in monitoring and supervision to fulfill international safeguard commitments, needs to be put in place.

CII said Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) needs to be expanded by leveraging the funds given by the Central Government for PPP projects.

UNI SG ARB UCS1658

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