Transport services account for 71 percent in investments attracted by infra sector, says ASSOCHAM study

New Delhi [India], Oct.10 :Transport services have garnered the highest share of over 71 per cent in terms of investments worth over Rs 53 lakh crore attracted by infrastructure sector from both public and private sources across India as of 2015, noted a recent ASSOCHAM study.

"Miscellaneous services sector which includes storage and distribution, education, health, recreational and other such services accounts for second highest share of about 13 per cent in total investments attracted by infrastructure sector by states across India, followed by communication (five per cent), wholesale and retail trading (five per cent), information technology (four per cent) and hotels (and) tourism (two per cent)," highlighted the ASSOCHAM study titled 'Analysis of infrastructure investment in India.' "Total investments attracted by infrastructure sector across India have increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 10 per cent between 2010-2015 thereby increasing from over Rs 32 lakh crore to over Rs 53 lakh crore," noted the study prepared by The ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB).

While investments attracted by transport services sector have increased at maximum growth of over 13 per cent during the aforesaid period, followed by miscellaneous services (6.5 per cent), communication (5 per cent), wholesale and retail (two per cent), hotels and tourism (two per cent) and IT (one per cent).

"Public sector accounted for highest share of 59 per cent in the total investments attracted by infrastructure sector, this is worrisome as India needs to look for more private sector participation in perking up infrastructure across the country, but it is seen that over the years reliance on public sources have increased," said Mr D.S.

Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chamber's study. "So far public investments have been the dominant form of infrastructure financing in India, but this is expected to change as large deficits and other commitments together with social obligations will constrain government's financial flexibility, thus there will be a greater need to mobilise private sector capital that can be invested into infrastructure," said Mr Rawat.

At the state level, public sector investment shows that in 2015 public sources had highest share of over 95 per cent in investments attracted by Chhattisgarh in infrastructure sector followed by Bihar (92 per cent), Uttarakhand (87 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (80 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (77 per cent) amid top five states in terms of public investments.

Though in West Bengal (59 per cent), Tamil Nadu (58 per cent), Odisha (50 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (47 per cent), Gujarat (27 per cent) and Haryana (10 per cent) public investments' share was below that of the country's average share thereby implying that these six states would be leading in terms of private sector's contribution to infrastructure sector, noted the study.

Investments attracted by the transport services sector have registered steep cost escalation of 47 per cent thereby exceeding the actual cost of projects by a whopping Rs five lakh crore, besides these projects are also facing an average delay of over 44 months Investment projects attracted by Telangana in transport services sector have registered highest cost escalation rate of about 89 per cent and are facing delay of over 51 months as of 2015.

Punjab (65 per cent), Jharkhand (59 per cent), West Bengal (58 per cent) and Gujarat (56 per cent) are other among top five states to have recorded high cost escalation rate in delayed transport services investment projects.

In its study, ASSOCHAM has suggested various measures like reducing delay in creating businesses, obtaining approvals, enforcing contracts; providing sufficient legal protection for investors; ensuring more transparent and predictable government decision making thereby minimising political and regulatory risks.

Co-ordination between government agencies together with a single window clearance system should be implemented with specific guidelines for time bound approvals.

Besides, land acquisition and environment clearances continue to remain critical concerns for infrastructure developers as such these issues should be addressed proactively to balance the interests of all stakeholders.

There is also an urgent need to fill-up the skills related gap in handling infrastructure projects and the government should create a skill ecosystem in partnership with private players with a view to formalise professional training for project managers, suggested ASSOCHAM.

It also added that there is a need to improve depth and liquidity of corporate bond market to provide additional source of funding for infrastructure companies.

Source: ANI