India’s Union Budget 2014, presented by the now two-month-old new government’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on July 10, brought a new ray of hope to the fledgling infrastructure industry that has been plagued with bureaucratic restraints for the past few years.
The budget has set determined goals, with allocations for 8,500 kilometers of roads, 16 new ports, 100 smart cities and industrial corridors. Given the past inaction, there remains some skepticism on when the projects will be awarded. For example, stalled projects between June 2013 and June 2014 rose by 14%, with 100 projects worth $17 billion scrapped. Of these, 26% of the total investment was a result of land-acquisition issues. A paucity in the supply of raw materials, delays in environmental clearance, unfavorable market conditions and lack of funds were other reasons for the holdups, according to Mumbai-based economic database research company Center for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt Ltd.