Apropos Vinayak Chatterjee’s column “PPP in India: The story so far” (Infratalk, May 14), the author presents an over-optimistic picture of the history of public-private partnership (PPP) in India. His assertion that the PPP movement started in 1997 is somewhat misplaced. India was struggling with disinvestment in the late nineties and Arun Shourie, as the disinvestment minister, was trying hard to sell off sick public sector units back then. Hence, disinvestment, and not PPP, was the flavour of the season. We can, at best, trace the start of PPP to 2005 and review the seven years since then. Incidentally, this was the year when the Committee on Infrastructure was set up under the chairmanship of the prime minister to formally adopt and execute a PPP policy framework for the country.
Moreover, the jury is still out on whether the PPP story can be deemed an out-and-out success. The National Highways Authority of India’s logjam over conventional bidding versus BOT contracts continues. And the recent steep increase in user charges at the PPP airport of Delhi International Airport Limited makes one worry about crony capitalism as well.
Kalpana Dube, Lucknow
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