Way to go, NHAI — Monetising Highways

     Way to go, NHAI — Monetising Highways

Surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari’s roadmap to monetise toll collections in all operational national highway projects makes perfect sense. The plough-back would complement budgetary outlays(व्यय) and smartly boost much needed resource(संसाधन/उपाय) allocation in the roads sector. It is notable that Mr Gadkari seeks to garner as much as Rs 1.5 lakh crore by monetising tolls on 100 national highways. The hybrid-annuity(संकर वार्षिकी) model, wherein the Centre provides 40% equity with the rest provided by the project concessionaire(रियायत पाने वाले,), has clearly been better at garnering resources for the sector. The pace of road construction has now more than doubled from about 4,500 km annually to a little under 10,000 km, in less than four years. In the earlier engineering, procurement(खरीद/वसूली) and construction (EPC) contracts, highway projects were fully funded by the government, limiting construction of roads.

The way ahead is to leverage the capital market to benefit from any likely future upside in traffic volumes. Project implementation has been streamlined(सुव्यवस्थित/सुगठित), and the government, in fact, is aiming(लक्ष्य) to have 40-45 km highways built daily, so as to raise the annual target by almost 40%. Which is why it would make ample sense to list the more promising road projects, to better unlock shareholder value. True, nodal agency National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is somewhat new to the capital market. Its Rs 25,000-crore medium term notes issues on Bombay Stock Exchange’s India International Exchange (India INX) global debt listing platform did debut earlier this month. But NHAI also needs to explore equity listing. It needs to rope in equity partners such as the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), as well as long-term funds such as foreign pension funds to invest in equity in road projects. Utilities abroad do provide steady long-term returns in the mature(तैयार होना/पक्का )capital markets. The way forward is to build on our expertise(विशेषज्ञता) to fast-forward implementation of road projects and manage attendant project risks to shore up equity funding on attractive terms.

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Mature(तैयार होना/पक्का )
Synonyms: matured, sophisticated, complete, cultivated, cultured
Antonyms: ignorant, immature, inexperienced, unprepared, unready

2.Procurement(खरीद/वसूली)
Synonyms: acquisition, acquirement, appropriation, attainment, procuring

3.Resource(संसाधन/उपाय
Synonyms: ability, capability, capital, means, property
Antonyms: impotence, inability, incompetence, lack, weakness

4.Expertise(विशेषज्ञता)
Synonyms: ability, competence, facility, judgment, know-how
Antonyms: clumsiness, ignorance, inability, inadequacy, inanity

5.Streamlined(सुव्यवस्थित/सुगठित),
Synonyms: sleek, up-to-date, clean, contoured, slick
Antonyms: coarse, rough, inefficient

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