Over the last decade, India’s central government has made significant strides in infrastructure development, achieving key milestones such as adding 53,000 kilometres of national highways, achieving 99% rural road connectivity, and operationalizing 74 airports. The 2023–24 Budget reflected a 33 per cent increase in capital expenditure to ₹10 lakh crore, indicating a continued focus on infrastructure spending.

In this businessline podcast, Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Senior Director and Global Head, Transport, Logistics, and Mobility, Consulting, CRISIL Market Intelligence, and Analytics, sheds light on the current infrastructure scenario in India and shares expectations for the upcoming Budget.

Padmanabhan highlights the government’s sustained emphasis on infrastructure in recent years, attributing the success to efficient spending. He anticipates the momentum to persist, driven by the government’s commitments to ongoing projects, especially in sectors like roads and railways.

Discussing the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan, Padmanabhan describes it as a comprehensive initiative for infrastructure development. He notes progress in sectors like roads, energy, and coal auctions, with expectations that more projects will be brought under its purview in the future. 

As for the upcoming Budget, Padmanabhan expects increased spending, particularly on railways, and a continued focus on roads. He emphasises the importance of public-private partnerships (PPP) in accelerating infrastructure development, citing examples of the National Highways Authority of India identifying 50 projects for PPP.

Addressing concerns about cost escalation and funding challenges, Padmanabhan attributes cost overruns to inadequate planning and stresses the need for thorough due diligence before project initiation.He urges the government to continue capital expenditure, follow through on PPP commitments, and approach projects with a sustainable and systematic perspective, considering climate resilience and overall project sustainability. Listen in.