Niti Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant on Wednesday pitched in for government organizations’ exit from the operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects, including the big ones like dedicated freight corridor and national highways, saying the “government is incapable to handle” them.
“It’s high time and the government should start reverse BOT (build-operate-transfer) and let the private sector handle these projects. The government is incapable to handle the operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects,” said Kant, adding that national highways and dedicated freight corridors should be the first bets. He added that the privatization for operation and maintenance should not be limited to infrastructure projects only, but also be extended to jails, schools and colleges.
Kant, who was speaking at the India PPP Summit 2017 organised by trade body FICCI, said that the government should restrict its role to planning and developing infrastructure. “The government should make special purpose vehicles to develop projects and once it’s completed, the SPV should be sold out,” he said.
He blamed the private sector for the current crisis in PPP investment stating there are hundreds of examples where the private sector has gone for aggressive bidding and didn’t bother to do due-diligence as a result of which the PPP mode has got a setback. “Private sector has performed very badly,” Kant said. There is no shortage of money in the market and India can use the opportunity by delisting its projects. “Need of the hour is to market these projects well,” Kant said.
He said the Indian Railways should refrain from running dedicated freight corridors being built as the private sector is competent enough to run these efficiently. “The dedicated freight corridor build up by railways which will be completed by 2018 can reduce journey of 14 days to 14 hours which is a paradigm shift. Railways should not try to run it and give it to private sector to manage it,” Kant said.