NEW DELHI: The government is looking to redefine ‘infrastructure’ and devise a new framework to ease flow of funds to the sector.
The finance ministry has tasked a high-level committee under Bibek Debroy, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to PM, to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the characteristics or parameters defining infrastructure and its financing framework.
The committee is expected to submit its report by September.
According to an office memorandum issued by the finance ministry, a copy of which was seen by ET, the other members in the five-member committee are economic affairs secretary Ajay Seth, civil aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal, chief economic adviser V Anantha Nageswaran, State Bank of India chairman Dinesh Khara and Solomon Arokiaraj, joint secretary in the finance ministry.
The development comes amid a massive ramp-up of the country’s infrastructure, as part of which the government has announced the National Infrastructure Pipeline and the PM Gatishakti plan.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said while presenting the budget for 2023-24 that there was a need for re-assessing the scope and comprehensiveness of infrastructure definition and the infrastructure financing framework.
“Infrastructure is a catalyst for sustainable and productive economic growth. Infrastructure spending not only increases creation and upgradation of national assets, but also has a high multiplier effect in terms of employment generation, industrial and ancillary growth and socio-economic development,” the ministry said in its memorandum.
The Rangarajan Committee under the National Statistical Commission had defined the term ‘infrastructure’ following which in 2012 the ‘harmonised master list (HML) of infrastructure’ was created based on the Rangarajan framework.
The government is of the view that since the adoption of HML in 2012, the economic conditions around the world have considerably changed, and the sectoral mix that constitutes ‘infrastructure’ has significantly altered.
“This necessitates a relook at the definition of ‘infrastructure’ to reflect the current economic realities, as well as, understand ways in which infrastructure can be best financed to attract more investments into the infrastructure sector,” the ministry said.
The committee is expected to review the existing framework’s underlying principles of defining infrastructure under the HML.
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