Noting that more than 70 per cent of the population will move to urban areas by 2040, Ashish Kumar Singh, the Public Works Department’s (PWD’s) principal secretary, said that “This will require investment to the tune of USD 20 trillion, to create infrastructure for this population.” Citing the example of the US, which will need nearly USD 3.6 trillion by 2020 to keep the current infrastructure going, he said India will not only have to invest in creating infrastructure but also in developing manpower capability and efficient mechanisms to maintain what has been built.
“Going by the example of the US, we can only imagine the quantum of investment and skill that will be required to maintain not only the existing 90,000 kms of roadways but also the additional 13,000 kms of national highways and 10,000 kms of state highways that will be built in the next 4-5 years in Maharashtra,” Singh said, at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) conference on Infrastructure Project Management.
Singh said the government also faces challenges in executing infrastructure projects, particularly the need for a pool of contractors who are supported by a team of skilled personnel, who can deliver world-class projects.
“We need to develop manpower capability, since it is not only important to build correctly at the outset, both, in respect of design and technology, but maintenance is equally critical,” he added.
See also: India could pay a hefty price of almost $1.8 trillion by 2050, for unplanned urbanisation: Study
Speaking at the event, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation’s (MIDC’s) CEO, Sanjay Sethi said, there was a need to consider the whole value chain and move towards integrated land use and transport planning, as the growth in one sector cannot preclude the other. “In this context, in integrated industrial areas under the new policy, land will be dedicated to industry (60 per cent), housing (30 per cent) and commercial development (10 per cent),” he said.
Hiranandani Group’s co-founder and managing director, Niranjan Hiranandani, added that it is important not to judge timelines by historical data, as the scenario has changed from the past view of project management. “There is a paradigm shift towards finding solutions and achieving timelines, no matter what the challenges. The important point here, is to make things happen. The governments are working faster and more efficiently and the view of project management has moved from taking estimates from engineers, to simplifying and solving impediments to make it happen,” said Hiranandani.