State Infrastructure Outreach Workshop by IFS, DEA – Chandigarh Chapter

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CHANDIGARH:- The Department of Finance’s Infrastructure Finance Secretariat (IFS) in partnership with Chandigarh hosted the Infrastructure Outreach Workshop in Chandigarh on Friday.

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

In his keynote speech, Chief Secretary Punjab pointed out that infrastructure development is inherent to economic growth as it is a job engine. While most projects would be funded from the budget, private investment would flow to states with strong state PPP policies. Experience on the ground requires a framework for renegotiation and dispute resolution mechanisms.
The workshop then continued with a panel discussion moderated by JS (IPP), Infra Finance Secretariat on “Private Investment in Infrastructure” with the participation of Chief Finance Secretary, Punjab; DG Budget J&K, Prof. K. Vaidyanathan (ISB Mohali), Advisor Niti Aayog, CS Babu Nagesh Director (PPP Cell) Karnataka.

Some of the key participants from States/UTs were Mr. Ajoy Kumar Sinha, Chief Financial Secretary Punjab, Mr. Rohit Meena, Additional Secretary for Planning and Mr. C. Ravishankar, Additional Secretary for Finance, Uttarakhand; Mr. MY Ittu Director General Budget (Jammu & Kashmir), Shri Babu Nagesh, Director PPP Karnataka.

The Chief Finance Minister of Punjab noted that land pooling was successful when landowners were development partners; and that Punjab was a pioneer in the region with the development of some 10,000 acres of land. Director PPP Karnataka, who was invited to share his best practices in PPP, spoke about a continuous monitoring mechanism including PPP enabling mechanisms down to the district level. Empaneled TAs can be set up to ensure high quality technical advice for successful PPPs.

DG Budget, J&K, mentioned that given J&K’s new administrative status and the security situation specific to the state, the government has focused on inviting investment with a new industrial policy, a pooled land bank of more than 20,000 acres and many industrial incentives.

ISB’s Prof Vaidyanathan highlighted that creative thinking could address part of the resource mobilization problem. Mr. Peeyush Kumar, JS (IPP), Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance (GoI), stressed that many vacant properties were found at district level, such as empty stadiums, buildings, etc., which could be monetized to generate resources. Prof. Vaidyanathan added that the same properties can be securitized as well as monetized; and securitization can help build additional funding channels for local governments. Advisor NITI Aayog pointed out the importance of PPP in stimulating private investment through effective project structuring, for which both NITI and DEA ​​are available. He went on to say that long-term contracts have the benefit of life cycle costs, thereby increasing value for money.

Mr. Baldeo Purushartha, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (GoI) detailed the PPP ecosystem maintained by GoI, Viability Gap funding programs and IIPDF to assist with project development cost absorption. JS(ISD) also informed the state governments about the mechanism for utilizing the newly appointed transaction advisers along with the mechanism for enlisting the financial support under the funds and programs for financial support of PPP projects.

The post-lunch session included a demonstration of the India Investment Grid (NIP) portal as well as the GatiShakti BISAG portal by officials from the Ministry of Economy, Invest India and BISAG.
The workshop featured presentations from senior officials from key infrastructure departments such as the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, Department of Water Resources, River Development and guest participants from states and UTs, followed by an interactive session with discussions on bottlenecks faced by states are, and possible resolution mechanisms.

Punjab has a strong infrastructure regulator and asked for help in developing projects around ecotourism and help in capacity building from officials from other government agencies. Himachal Pradesh asked for clarification of force majeure clauses in concession contracts and for GoI’s help in renegotiation. Uttarakhand asked for help in structuring cable car and convention center.

The forum provided an opportunity for state officials to interact with officials from key infrastructure ministries and their executive agencies, representatives from NITI Aayog, IIG, etc. The officials brought up problems they face in undertaking infrastructure projects and areas for assistance needed to resolve them.

The workshop ended with the distribution of memorabilia to delegations from the States.

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