As many as 431 infrastructure projects, each entailing an investment of ₹150 crore or more, were hit by cost overrun of more than ₹4.82 lakh crore in December 2023, an official report stated.

According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), which monitors infrastructure projects worth ₹150 crore and above, out of 1,820 projects, 431 reported cost overrun and 848 projects were delayed.

"Total original cost of implementation of the 1,820 projects was ₹25,87,066.08 crore and their anticipated completion cost is likely to be ₹30,69,595.88 crore, which reflects overall cost overruns of ₹4,82,529.80 crore (18.65 per cent of original cost)," the ministry's latest report for December 2023 said.

According to the report, the expenditure incurred on these projects till December 2023 is ₹16,26,813.80 crore, which is 53 per cent of the anticipated cost of the projects.

However, it stated that the number of delayed projects decreased to 638, if delay is calculated on the basis of the latest schedule of completion.

Further, it said that for 298 projects neither the year of commissioning nor the tentative gestation period has been reported.

Out of the 848 delayed projects, 202 have overall delays in the range of 1-12 months, 200 have been delayed for 13-24 months, 323 projects for 25-60 months, and 123 projects have been delayed for more than 60 months.

The average time overrun in these 848 delayed projects stood at 36.59 months.

Reasons for time overrun, as reported by various project implementing agencies, include delay in land acquisition, in obtaining forest and environment clearances, and lack of infrastructure support and linkages.

Delays in tie-up for project financing, finalisation of detailed engineering, change in scope, tendering, ordering and equipment supply, and law and order problems were among the other reasons.

The report also cited state-wise lockdowns due to Covid-19 (imposed in 2020 and 2021) as a reason for the delay in implementation of these projects.

It has also been observed that project executing agencies are not reporting revised cost estimates and commissioning schedules for many projects, which suggests that time/cost overrun figures are under-reported, it added.