Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s focus on infrastructure sector projects appears to need time before making any real impact.
The 2012-13 first quarter review by the Planning Commission of the progress in power, roads, railways, ports and airports clearly shows the results critically lag the targets in a majority of areas.
The silver lining is the progress in capacity addition in the power sector, 5,266 Mw up to July 10 as against the target of 3,807 Mw in the quarter. The share of thermal and hydro sectors in the addition was 4,965 Mw and 301 Mw, respectively, against the targets of 3,680 Mw and 127 Mw.
In the case of power transmission lines, 3,699 circuit km was added in the quarter against the target of 4,551 ckm. In highways, only 100 km of contracts was awarded under the National Highways Development Programme against the target of 1,785 km during April-June. And, 649.6 km of construction was completed as against the target of 774 km in the period.
Further, no project could be awarded in the first quarter in ports. The target set by the PM for 2012-13 was award of 42 port projects.
In civil aviation, the investment in public-private partnership (PPP) airports during the first three months of this financial year was Rs 797 crore; the target was Rs 1,048 crore.
In railway metropolitan projects, only Rs 81 crore was spent till May against the target of Rs 473 crore, due to delays in land acquisition and clearances from civil authorities.
The progress report presented by the ministry of planning before Parliament on August 8 states that 74 per cent of of the land required for the railways’ Dedicated Freight Corridor Project had been acquired and the rest would be by the end of the second quarter.
Five stations have been handed over to the Indian Railways Station Development Corporation. These are supposed to be developed on a PPP mode and the award for at least one station is to be done during the current year.
At a meeting on June 6, the PM approved the targets for these sectors for 2012-13 and also cleared a problem resolution mechanism to expedite implementation.
Under the mechanism, the Planning Commission will review the quarterly progress in each sector and this is then be analysed by the PM’s Office, with representatives from the ministries concerned, for resolution of issues leading to delays. Issues requiring intervention from the top will be put up before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.