Stocks take a beating

As the Budget fine print sinks in, the infrastructure sector players feel let down even though there have been certain provisions aimed at boosting the sector.

An interaction with various sector players shows that they see the Budget as a mixed bag.

E. Sudhir Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director of IVRCL, said the Government has high expectations from infrastructure sector during the 12th Plan with total investment of $1 trillion (about Rs 55 lakh crore), and private sector needs to contribute about 47 per cent of this, there is hardly anything in the Budget that seeks to aid such growth plan.

T. Adibabu, Chief Operating Officer, Finance of Lanco Infratech, said: “We are quite disappointed with the Budget as there is no positive intent to help accelerate the growth of the sector.

Barring the move to have an independent regulator for roads, there is nothing to address the current concerns, including liquidity.”

Isaac A. George, Chief Finance Officer of GVK Group, said: “We were expecting much more from the Finance Minister. Extension of Section 80 (1) A which extends tax holiday by one more year and move to promote Infrastructure Debt Funds to bridge funding gaps is positive.”

PPP IN COAL

“The move to take up PPP projects in partnership with CCI for coal augured well for the fuel-starved sector. The move to revisit the gas pricing mechanism which is holding up investments in exploration and plans to announce shale gas policy are welcome,” George said.

M. Gautham Reddy, Executive Director of Ramky Infrastructure, said this was lacklustre as there is nothing in the Budget to show that the Government is seeking to address the major concern of liquidity crunch.

“While the move to offer 3,000 km of new roads within six months is fine, what about the problems of projects which are now in the limbo?,” he questioned.

NO ROADMAP

“Even if the Budget did not provide for any great relief to the infrastructure, the FM should have provided some roadmap for the sector which has such great bearing on the economy. But this is missing,” Adibabu said.

Hemanth Kanoria, CMD of SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd, said: “The initiatives to provide support to Infrastructure Debt Funds will help mobilise resources from a diverse cross section of investors with Government’s active participation.”

“The decision to announce 3000 km of new road projects, the proposal to build two new ports etc for the infrastructure sector and focus on industrial corridors is also something to cheer about,” he said.

rishikumar.vundi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 28, 2013)
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