Need for better quality infrastructure vital
You and I come by road or Rail, but Economists Travel by Infrastructure: Margaret Thatcher.
Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian quoted the late Margaret Thatcher, who spearheaded privatisation in the UK.
While it is not clear whether the Economic Survey is batting for privatisation in these sectors by quoting Thatcher, the Survey surely calls for more investment in these sectors. It also takes note of the fact that private investment is drying up, while calling for better quality infrastructure.
On the power sector, the Survey has argued for higher power tariffs, but noted that operational improvement is not visible despite higher tariffs.
To maintain the momentum of higher growth and to satisfy the stakeholders, it is indispensable to invest more on infrastructure.
The government is committed to invest more on qualitative infrastructure with an aim to make India an advanced, inclusive and a just economy, the Survey said.
The government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to address issues faced by the infrastructure sector. This includes regional air connectivity schemes (UDAN) and Bharatmala, the CEA said.
Though India’s per capita income is low, it is far ahead of many emerging economies in terms of providing qualitative transportation related infrastructure, said the Survey.
It has taken note of the fact that the share of two-wheelers and passenger cars, jeep and taxis has increased while the share of public transport like buses and trucks has contracted.
For generating revenue, the Railways should look towards non-fare sources.
These include redeveloping stations, commercially exploiting vacant buildings at stations, monetising land along the tracks by leasing out to promote horticulture, stated the Survey.