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BW Businessworld

This Budget Is More Of A Work Progress Report: Experts

Experts gathered at BW Businessworld post budget roundtable analysis to share their opinion on the latest Union Budget. The experts felt this budget is more of a work in progress report

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Experts gathered at BW Businessworld post budget round table analysis to share their opinion on the latest Union Budget. The experts felt this budget is more of a work in progress report.

The panelists touched upon the public private partnership, railway modernisation, affordable housing and water management.

Abhaya Krishna Agarwal, Partner- Infrastructure & PPP, E&Y applauds the government decision of providing Rs 100,000 crores for railway safety for a period of five years. He highlighted, "Allotting money ahs never been an issue the significant challenge is how this money is going to be served. "

Manish R Sharma, Partner, PWC highlighted Railway is not in the very good shape they are losing a lot of traffic. He said. "The composition of traffic is changing such as coal, the bread and butter of railways has always been coal."

Apart from normal citizens, sectoral experts also had high expectation post the railway budget clubbed with the Union Budget. The government made some quick announces in the railway sector and left everyone wondering.

Sharing his thought on finance stability, Sharma said, capital needs to roll out the lot, there are lots of projects that is yet to be ramped up and the budget has very little to do with it.

Panellists highlight the government is discussing increasing the speed for many years but in order to execute it, the only way is the reduction of operation in trains. The other point of panellists highlighted is retention of railway passengers and modernisation of railways. It will stop the shift of railway passengers towards airlines. In order to give much-needed boost to the railways apart from government seed money, PPP is also another important option.

Announcements and execution
There has always been a mismatch between the budget announcements and their executions but the budget is something which sets a tone for the next year's project. Abhaya Agarwal feels that thousand mile journey starts with one step and the airport act, introducing new metro rail policy is a huge step. This will open new jobs for youth and also a good proposal for PPP projects.

PPP is necessary for terms of efficiency and capital. The logistics are a real challenge for airports. As airports are shifting nearer to the cities and vice versa. All these projects need a financial push to get it executed.

Dr Jaijit Bhattacharya, Partner, Strategy & Regulatory, KPMG highlighted there is no budget allocation to water and waste water. We have waste water problem because ewe provides water to a large number of population. As a collateral, you get waste water because there is no infrastructure to process it. "We need more water and that is why we are having water wars between the states. Water distribution needs to be strengthened, lot of it is a state subject. The Central government is intervening in urban issues but they also have a key role to play. Water and waste need to be addressed and should have got budget reallocation."