One of the key verticals fueling India’s ambitious growth story is infrastructure. It is one of the key drivers of the Indian economy. As the country’s overall development is primarily pivoted on its infrastructural prowess, the sector enjoys intense focus from the Government which has been introducing viable policies targeted at ensuring creation of a sustainable world class infrastructure in the country. India’s infrastructure sector typically comprises of power, bridges, dams, roads, smart cities development, water and other public utilities.
Off-late, the Government has set aside Rs 111 crore under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for FY2019 – 25, with sectors such as energy, roads, urban and railways amounting to a whopping 71% of the projected infrastructure investment. Additionally, the online “holistic governance” system – PM Gati Shakti connects 16 ministries — such as Roads and Highways, Railways, Shipping, Petroleum and Gas, Power, Telecom, Shipping, and Aviation — with the objective to ensure holistic planning and execution of infrastructure projects, by reducing implementation costs.
PM Gati Shakti will enable multiple government departments to harmonise their efforts into a multi-modal network. Also, several other Government initiatives such as Asset Monetization Scheme and New Guidelines on Procurement, etc are currently pushing the Indian infrastructure sector in the right direction. Government’s focus on infra is witnessing a sharp surge over the years.
With this increased focus on the infrastructure sector, the discipline of Engineering Consultancy Services, one of the many consultancy domains, is also witnessing massive demand especially in developing countries like India. The Government’s unwavering emphasis on self-reliance or aatmanirbharata in the socio-economic development of the country has enabled India to pool in a large and versatile cadre of professionals with expertise and skills across a vast and ramified spectrum of skillsets.
Engineering and technical consultancy services, as the term suggests, include a wide bouquet of premium services that are classified under pre project, project execution and post-project, broadly coveting functions such as project identification/ evaluation; environmental impact assessment, development/sourcing of technologies; preparation of feasibility reports, market studies; designing of projects, equipment procurement and erection; engineering design services, project management services, architectural/construction engineering services; and project commissioning, operations and maintenance. The need for specialists with experience and expertise are required to offer sustainable solutions to Indian infrastructure needs.
The demand for the aforementioned services are expected to burgeon in India, promoting the growth of the consultancy sector. As we all know, Innovation drives economic growth and it encompasses “new to the world” knowledge creation and commercialization as well as “new to the market” knowledge dispersal and absorption. While ‘innovation’ translates to letting go of conventional approaches and replacing those with modern solutions that are more viable and effective, many practicing professionals, including consultants needs to be upskilled to cater to the evolving demands.
The infrastructure industry must put innovation at the heart of its future developmental goals to address many of the current and impending domestic & global challenges such as climate change, energy intensity of the economy, effective and efficient infrastructure, in line with the increased pace of urbanization in the developing countries. As the infrastructure sector continues to grow in India, there are rising demands for many new technologies in the ever-growing Construction industry. Many of these technologies are either being developed indigenously or are being imported from overseas. With this, the scope and role of engineering consultants are also increasing manifold.
Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to Smart outcomes. While sustainability and environment friendly construction becoming the need of the hour, Green buildings are witnessing growing demands. Many International standards have been drawn up for Green Buildings. In India though, from merely 20000 square feet of green buildings in 2003, the country now has over 20 million square feet of green buildings. What is needed now is a comprehensive code for green buildings. The Green Building Code in India is a mix of codes and standards contained in the State by-laws, the National Building Code, the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and in the norms set by the ratings programmes, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-India (LEED-India), the standards and guidelines put down for the Residential Sector by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), TERI-GRIHA and other such certifications.
Governments Jal Jeevan Mission, is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. Here as well, engineering consultancy services will witness demand. The work load of engineering consultants is going to be enormous in all sectors of construction viz. smart cities, smart mobility, healthcare, Power, Water, Bridges, Infrastructure, Safety related services, amongst others.
The government has reviewed the infrastructure projects in India recently and given a mega push to roads, power, coal, civil aviation, railways, smart cities development, dams and water etc. by announcing multiple new projects which shall generate new challenges and opportunities for consultants and engineers to work upon, bringing in stellar innovations and creativity.
The author is Regional CEO, South Asia and MD, Egis India