The Indian government is belatedly waking up to the fact it needs to build new cities and industrial hubs in order to sustain the growth that is supposed to propel the country to super economy status in the 21st century.
But it might be a case of too much, too late as India sets out to build 24 new, industrial cities along a planned dedicated freight corridor from the political capital, New Delhi, to the financial capital, Mumbai priced at a cool $90 billion. Costs aside, it’s a big ask in a country known for its mulish bureaucracy and maddening red-tape, its violent protests over land, and endemic corruption. Even building a bridge (like the Mumbai Sea Link) or highways (like the Golden Quadrilateral) in India can be a struggle.
But a handful of Indian civil servants tasked with making the SimCity dream a reality seem determined to chart a path through the obstacle course of Indian development projects.
Here are six reasons why they might be successful.
De-risking Indian infra projects
“There is no poverty of funds in the world to my mind,” said Amitabh Kant, who heads the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. “There is a poverty of well-structured projects.”
In India that means two things: getting the land in place first – the number one hurdle for any development project – and then trudging through the slow process of getting the clearances, like the 44 clearances needed for a single power plant.