Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Chandigarh

State Infrastructure Outreach Workshop By IFS, DEA – Chandigarh Chapter

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | September 13, 2022 05:09 AM

CHANDIGARH: Infrastructure Finance Secretariat (IFS) at Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance in partnership with Chandigarh, conducted the infrastructure outreach workshop at Chandigarh on Friday.

The workshop was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Chief Secretary Punjab, Mr Vijay Kumar Janjua and participated from over 60 senior officials from the State Governments of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Union Territories of Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

While delivering the keynote address, Chief Secretary Punjab suggested that infrastructure development was inherent to economic growth as it was an employment generator. While most projects were funded through budget, private investment would flow into states with a strong state PPP policy. On-ground experience necessitates the need for a renegotiation framework as well as mechanisms for dispute resolution.

The workshop then proceeded with a panel discussion that was moderated by JS (IPP), Infra Finance Secretariat, on the subject ‘Private Investment in Infrastructure’, with participation from Principal Finance Secretary, Punjab; DG Budget J&K, Prof K Vaidyanathan (ISB Mohali), Adviser Niti Aayog, C.S Babu Nagesh Director (PPP Cell) Karnataka.

Some of the key participants from the States/UTs included Mr Ajoy Kumar Sinha, Principal Finance Secretary Punjab, Mr Rohit Meena Additional Secretary Planning and Mr C Ravishankar Additional Secretary Finance, Uttarakhand; Mr M.Y Ittu Director General Budget (Jammu & Kashmir), Shri Babu Nagesh, Director PPP Karnataka Principal Finance Secretary Punjab observed that land pooling was successful when land owners were partners in development; and that Punjab has been a pioneer in the area with development of around 10, 000 acres of land. Director PPP Karnataka, which was invited to share their best practices in PPP, spoke about a continuous monitoring mechanism including PPP enabling mechanisms right upto district levels. Empanelled TAs can be instituted to ensure quality technical advice for successful PPPs.

DG Budget, J&K mentioned that in light of the new administrative status of J&K and the security situation peculiar to the state, government has been focusing on inviting investments with a new industrial policy, pooled land bank of more than 20, 000 acres and many industrial incentives.

Prof Vaidyanathan from ISB highlighted that creative thinking could address part of the resource mobilization issue. Mr Peeyush Kumar, JS (IPP), Dept of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (GoI) highlighted that many vacant properties were found at distrct level, such as empty stadia, buildings etc that could be monetized to generate resources. Prof Vaidyanathan added that the same properties can be both securitized and monetized; and securitization can help build additional channels of funding for local governments. Adviser NITI Aayog, weighed upon the importance of PPP in driving private investment through effective project structuring for which both NITI and DEA are available for handholding. He further said that long term contracts get the advantage of lifecycle cost, thereby increasing value for money.

Mr Baldeo Purushartha, Joint Secretary, Dept of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (GoI) explained in detail the PPP ecosystem being maintained by GoI, schemes of Viability Gap Funding and IIPDF for helping bear cost of project development. JS(ISD) also informed the State Governments on the mechanism to utilize the newly empaneled Transaction Advisors along with the mechanism of availing the financial support under the funds & schemes for financial support to PPP projects.

Post-lunch session included demonstration of the India Investment Grid (NIP) portal as well as the GatiShakti BISAG portal by officials from Department of economic affairs, Invest India and BISAG.
Under the workshop, presentations were made by senior officials from key infrastructure ministries like Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Department of Water Resources, River Development and guest participants from States and UTs followed by an interactive session with discussion around bottlenecks faced by states and possible resolution mechanisms.

Punjab has a strong Infrastructure Regulatory Authority and requested for help developing projects around ecotourism, and help for capacity building of officials from other state departments. Himachal Pradesh requested for clarification around force majeure clauses in concession agreements and GoI help towards renegotiation. Uttarakhand requested for help regarding structuring of ropeway and convention center.
The forum provided an opportunity to State officials to interact with officials from key infrastructure ministries and their implementing agencies, representatives from NITI Aayog, IIG etc. The officials brought forward issues being faced by them in executing infrastructure projects and areas for support required in their resolution.

The workshop ended with memento distribution to delegations from states.

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