The whole country is crying foul. Business confidence is at its lowest ebb. GDP growth is sliding to new lows. Fiscal deficit is on the rise. Exports are plummeting despite the currency’s free fall. Yes, the scenario is glum and the mood is depressed. I always manage to see a silver lining but today I am challenged. Our country is resilient but there is a limit to the stretch. The anti-corruption movement caught the imagination of the masses but then that too petered out because at the epicentre of the angst lay the government’s apathy and lack of concern to move the country forward. The previous government had created quite a momentum. Its short rule had laid the foundation of a vibrant economy. But the current government, owing to its bureaucracy and red tape, or shall we say ‘green tape’, sealed the fate of growth.The loss of faith has curbed the flow and circulation of money in the system. Banks are loaded with fixed deposits and enterprises are desisting from borrowing. Yet prices are high as supply remains strained and raw material prices continue to soar.Closer to our sector, the project pipeline has started drying up and fresh proposals are not being invited. We are losing $20 billion every year because of delays in project execution. The Government has launched its Twelfth Five-Year Plan with the imperative to invest over $1 trillion in the next five years but it only has $200 billion of projects on the drawing board. The rest won’t see the light of the day, at least in the next five years for sure. Projects are stuck for want of clearances – environmental, municipal – and owing to various other regulatory hurdles.As a result, India Inc is investing overseas. Indian contractors too have started scouring the EPCscape across the Middle East and Asia to keep their capacities utilised. Meanwhile, foreign investors are reducing their exposure to India and seeking greener pastures.We have a very strong parallel economy that has actually led to the inflationary pressures. Instead of recognising the same and creating a better platform for expansion of supply capacities, the RBI has choked the ability to grow by enhancing interest rates. Second, the Government needs to examine the current projects mired in regulatory gridlocks and engage itself to get them rolling. Third, it needs to relook at the recently introduced tax measures that have miffed foreign investors. Fourth, it needs to accelerate supply by containing the constraints; and fifth, it needs to start showing its ‘animal spirits’ through real action, not just mere words. In this, our 16th anniversary issue, 16 experts share their strategies for ‘rising despite the dark night’.At CW, we believe the sector is at its nadir; things can only get better with any pro-business action the Government takes. Unfortunately, ever since October 2010 when our sensex was within kissing distance of 21,000, we have had a systematic decimation of the business opportunity called ‘India’. You can read the chronology of events at www.constructionupdate.com/editorspeaks/For our part, we continued to promote India and held the INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY INDIA OPPORTUNITY conference in Toronto in May 2012, which was a grand success. We showcased NHAI’s success and discussed with pension funds, developers and financial institutions the stumbling blocks and potential scenarios in making India an attractive destination. In 2012, we also introduced the INDIA CONSTRUCTION FESTIVAL, a confluence of three international events where the 10TH CONSTRUCTION WORLD AWARDS go ‘GLOBAL’. CW has now tied up with Engineering News Record (ENR), published by US-based McGraw-Hill; our stories will now enjoy an international platform. And you, our readers, will also get to read ENR articles in CW.Looking ahead, here’s hoping a new leadership emerges as the race to 10 Racecourse Road gets hotter – and we resume shining instead of whining.