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How India is losing Rs 3 trillion in infrastructure projects!

January 2019

Over the past few decades, India has witnessed the launch of several big-ticket infrastructure projects, pumping billions into the country’s aviation, industrial development, smart cities, railways, roads and energy sectors. 
However, the scale of the projects have also led to delays in some of them. The most recent available Flash Report (September 2018), published by the Ministry of Statistics and Planning, is testament to this.
According to the report, out of 1,420 central-sector infrastructure projects worth Rs 1.50 billion and above, 385 are on schedule, 366 projects are delayed, 358 projects reported cost overruns, and 136 projects reported both time and cost overruns with respect to their original schedules. That said, around 32 projects have reported additional delays vis-à-vis their date of completion. Of these 32 projects, 14 are mega projects costing Rs 10 billion and above.
The total original cost of implementation of the 1,420 projects when sanctioned was Rs 18.05 trillion but this was subsequently revised to Rs 21.63 trillion, implying a cost overrun of Rs 3.38 trillion (20 per cent of the original cost). The expenditure incurred on these projects till September 2018 is Rs 7.83 trillion, which is 36.21 per cent of the anticipated cost of the projects.
However, the number of delayed projects decreases to 300 if delay is calculated on the basis of latest schedule of completion. Further, for 651 projects, neither the year of commissioning nor the tentative gestation period has been reported. Out of 366 delayed projects, 100 (27.32 per cent) projects have an overall delay in the range of one to twelve months, 69 (18.85 per cent) projects have a delay in the range of 13 to 24 months, 91 (24.86 per cent) projects have a delay in the range of 25 to 60 months and 106 (28.96 per cent) projects have a delay of 61 months and above. 
The average time overrun in these 366 delayed projects is 45.95 months.

SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN and RAHUL KAMAT