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Infra players seek steps to boost government spending

E Kumar Sharma     July 2, 2019

Infrastructure players are looking at the forthcoming Union Budget with some degree of hope. At a time when the private sector is finding it hard to access funds, spending by the government is crucial to boost the sector. "Given the importance of infrastructure and the scope for job creation, it is important that the budget announces measures to boost government spending," says Issac A George, CFO, GVK. He feels, other than creating avenues that encourage more players to enter infrastructure projects, measures to speed up projects like Bharatmala and the dedicated freight corridor, would create more jobs.

In power generation which is witnessing reduced interest from the private sector - either due to renegotiation of power purchase agreements (PPAs) or payments not coming on time -- measures could be taken to revive discoms and ensure they have the ability to pay. He says, even in railways, the government could try and replicate its strategy for airports, where private players were able to set up world class airports. Setting up better railway stations could open up new employment opportunities.

There is also a need to rationalise the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Also, efforts to recapitalize public sector banks will ensure that projects that require funding will get it. This could play an important role in driving growth.

Yogesh Kumar Jain, managing director, PNC Infratech feels one major initiative that the budget could look at is at ways to ease bank funding for infrastructure companies. There is need for better coordination between departments for approvals to infrastructure projects. That could ensure that projects do not get stalled.

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