General (Dr) V K Singh
Infrastructure is the backbone of our country and along with the construction sector plays a crucial role in accelerating India’s overall development, hence acts as a key propellor of economic growth. The Indian infrastructure sector has always shown remarkable resilience despite disruptions and covid limitations which had brought a complete halt to the construction activities. However, we all observed that post these disruptions, Infrastructure and construction emerged as the first economic activities to resume.With an aim to renew and explore further prospects in the Indian Construction sector, I would reflect on the overall Infrastructure landscape as it is largely responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country and make India more competitive.
Our government has already undertaken numerous pathbreaking initiatives in the recent past to push infrastructure investment in the country. The recent announcements in the Budget further reflect our government’s renewed commitment with its continued investment in strengthening the country’s infrastructure.The launch of National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) to invest 111 lakh crore on infrastructure projects by 2024-25; Launch of 6 lakh crore Asset Monetization programme to attract private sector participation and investment in brownfield infrastructure assets are landmark steps in this direction.
With a well-developed framework for PPP’s in the highway sector, India is already moving fast on its ambitious target of expanding the National Highway network by 25,000 kms over the fiscal year. The Bharatmala Pariyojana, aims to build about 65,000 km of national and economic corridors, border and coastal roads and expressways to optimize the efficiency of already built highway infrastructure. The programme will provide 4-lane connectivity to 550 districts and develop 50 economic corridors and attract opportunities for the construction equipment players as well. Already, there is a 100 % FDI allowed in roads and highways under the automatic route. These will boost the economy.
Similarly, the aviation sector will witness expansion of the airport infrastructure with an investment to the tune of US$ 1.83 billion along with the navigation services by 2026. This would further provide ample of opportunities for the construction industry. Parallelly, according to a recent report, the construction Industry in India is expected to reach $1.4 Tn by 2025 and is expected to emerge as the third largest globally. Rapidly evolving technology is also redefining how the construction business is conducted and managed in India. The construction industry market in India works across 250 sub-sectors with linkages across various sectors and offering opportunities for the construction equipment players.
Technology and sustainability will play a significant role in the construction sector. Focus on digitalization to automate processes across design, construction and operations would ensure cost-effective and timely completion of large projects. Clean energy and green initiatives for infrastructure development have given a much-needed push to this sector’s growth. Furthermore, the integration of the latest technology and movement would also help towards contributing to futuristic infrastructure developments in the country.
Road Transport is considered to be one of the most cost effective and preferred mode of transport, both for freight and passengers, keeping in view its level of penetration into populated areas. Thus, it is vital for economic development and social integration of the country. Road Transport has emerged as the dominant segment in India’s transportation sector. The Road Transport Sector accounts for about 87% of passenger traffic and 60% of freight traffic movement in the country. Easy availability, adaptability to individual needs and the cost savings are some of the factors which go in favour of road transport. Road transport also acts as a feeder service to railway, shipping and air traffic. The growth in this sector with better road infra will give a positive bounce to economy.
The Indian Construction sector offers quite an attractive proposition for foreign developers. The roadmap to India’s infrastructure landscape seems to be a promising one with the plethora of opportunities for all types of construction equipment providers. India’s growth story has a strong linkage to infrastructure development. There is a need to keep up to the laid down targets to ensure this. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is committed to write fresh chapters of growth and economic development. This positivity will infuse all growth sectors.