As we all know, India is currently one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Experts believe that the country is perfectly poised to be the future global epicenter for manufacturing, engineering, tourism and services. The government has realized that the existing infrastructure can come in the way of achieving the country’s ambition to become a leading global economic superpower. To do away with this challenge, the Government has pledged to invest around a trillion dollars towards robust infrastructure development. While the intention and the funds are truly laudable, what we will also need is, a veritable pool of specialists with rich experience and expertise who can deliver sustainable solutions that will cater to the nation’s infrastructure needs.
Talking from an administration perspective, for instance, the Government has allocated Rs 111 crore under the NIP for FY2019 – 25. Sectors such as energy, roads, urban and railways amount to 71% of the projected infrastructure investment in India. The online “holistic governance” system – PM Gati Shakti – aims to reduce logistics costs and boost the economy with a planned National Infrastructure Pipeline. This digital platform connects 16 ministries — including Roads and Highways, Railways, Shipping, Petroleum and Gas, Power, Telecom, Shipping, and Aviation — with a view to ensure holistic planning and execution of infrastructure projects. The initiative will go a long way in enabling various government departments to synchronize their efforts into a multi-modal network. Also, other Government initiatives such as Asset Monetization Scheme and New Guidelines on Procurement, among others, are currently catapulting the Indian infrastructure space in the right direction.
Over the last two years or so, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges and in many cases, business continuity plans are being put to the test for the first time. While project implementation costs may not get impacted in the long run, but the projects under development are facing undue delays, owing to unfavourable geography, manpower non-availability and impact of the pandemic in and around the project sites.
There is no iota of doubt about the fact that in order to provide the much needed push to the economy, robust infrastructure is the need of the hour. The launch of coastal roads projects and inland waterways bears testimony to the fact that the government is planning to build alternative modes of transport to help reduce dependency on roads and rail alone for logistics.
Engineering Consultancy Services is one of the many consultancy domains that has seen its importance growing, with the thrust on infrastructure services, especially in developing countries like India. Strong and consistent emphasis on self-reliance or aatmanirbharata in India’s economic development programs over the years by the Government of India have enabled the country to build up a huge and versatile cadre of professionals with expertise and skills across a vast and wide-ranging spectrum of disciplines. A sizable part of this workforce makes up the country’s growing consultancy sector which has been offering its accumulated experience and expertise at home and abroad.
Since these consultants come with prior experience and exposure in projects, they bring in viable solutions that already exists. This experience saves a lot of time and also help in optimising available resources by reducing wastage. Additionally, since these consultants have knowledge of global projects and industry best-practices, the solutions that they offer are at par with global standards.
For instance, when the intention of developing Smart Cities were announced by the Government, there was a lot of confusion on what exactly are smart cities and what parameters are to be considered for a city to be called smart. The Government then formed a panel called Smart PIT (Project Initiation Team) to determine these factors. Egis, a consultancy firm that has widespread experience of developing many smart cities around the globe was chosen as one of the members of this team to develop the framework for smart cities in the country. Egis has extensively worked in establishing Jaipur, Ajmar, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh and Faridabad Smart Cities.
Infrastructure is a complex entity and more often than not, problems need to be addressed at multiple levels, and with sustainable solutions. For example, a metro which is meant for smoother transportation is incomplete unless last mile connectivity is offered. Therefore, consultants with experience in similar projects, can offer solutions that are all encompassing. Being an independent third party expert, they can offer unbiased opinions which are best suited for a particular project. In many cases, the reputation of the consultant also adds value to the project.
Infrastructure is a dynamic and fast evolving domain. As such, there are always better innovations available which can offer sustainable solutions at minimum costs. It is not possible for the clients or their teams to be on top of such developments. The global consultants who are working on these projects on a regular basis can help bridge the gap and ensure that the clients get the best value for the capital invested, through risk minimisation, and leveraging newer technology, engineering and processes.