Pre-Budget Expectations: 'Smart Cities need enough support for timely completion'
"The government needs to have a mechanism to ensure timely delivery of projects that ensures better ROI"
Ashish Tandon, MD, Egis India:
Communicating to The Dollar Business Bureau, Ashis Tandon, expressed that, “The government needs to have a mechanism to ensure timely delivery of projects that ensures better ROI” TDB: What are your expectations from the Union Budget 2016 for infrastructure sector in general and for the sectors that you have a presence in particular like railway, road? AT: Egis is an integrated solutions provider in the engineering consultancy space. We have a very strong presence in Roads & Highways, Rail, Water, Ports, Aviation, Urban Planning and Development etc. So we are impacted by the budget for the whole sector. Having said that the key expectations are:
- If India needs to be the hub of medical tourism for Asia and the manufacturing hub of the world, it would need more ports, more airports, more metro rails and better roads & rail connectivity
- Smart Cities will need support in the budget and offer clear timelines for completion
- Water sector needs a lot of support as falling water tables and migration to cities are causing havoc to water supplies. Also cleaning of rivers and interconnecting of waterways needs to be supported for ease of transportation of goods and people
- India needs to invest in climate mitigations and green engineering. The allocations are needed in the budget for green projects
TDB: Would you like to see any changes in taxation and financing of infra projects? AT: Ease of doing business is not only one window solution. It also needs to be ease of getting ROI for foreign investors. Foreign investors find the taxation too uncomfortable, company laws too complicated. Dividend tax seems prohibitively high, needs to come down. I feel if these are taken care of, it would help India offer investor delight instead of mere investor satisfaction. Rupee Convertibility needs to be made possible. The government needs to have a mechanism to ensure timely delivery of projects that ensures better ROI. Chinta Sasidhar, Managing Director, Krishnapatnam Port Company Limitednbsp; Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited (KPCL) was formed by winning a Govt of A.P. mandate to develop the existing minor port into a modern, deep water and high productivity port on build-operate-share-transfer basis. Currently into its second phase of development, KPCL’s Managing Director, Mr Chinta Sashidhar voiced his pre-budget expectations and concerns. In 2015 when the Indian Govt decided to quadruple the maritime trade to about 2200 million tonnes by the year 2020 from the present 600 million tonnes per annum, Mr Chinta Sashidhar said he was confident that to meet the existing requirements of the trade, the capacity of the existing ports would be increased and newer ones commissioned. However, with the Budget announcement of 2015, there was a dampener as the Government had resumed levying of service tax @14.5% on the construction of ports. Now constructing ports had become a costly proposition, discouraging project developers in undertaking construction activities at ports. Mr Sashidhar opines that, for ports to be recommissioned and operational, “in accordance with the vision of the Government of India, and as a part of ‘Ease of Doing Business’, the existing provisions relating to levy of service tax on Construction of Port should be revisited and preferably the exemptions which were available prior to 01.03.2015 should be restored which will surely help investors to review the sector with more significance from the business investment perspective”. He also said that the, “Union Govt’s Sagarmala concept was an extremely encouraging move with a clear focus on Port Infrastructure enhancement, setting up of new ports and efficient evacuation to and from the hinterland, that will revolutionize maritime trade in India”.
February 26, 2016 | 04:25pm IST