06 June 2020

Editor's Space

Strange Bedfellows

Politics always makes strange bedfellows, as with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s switch of alliance when he dumped the Congress and RJD last month, and began jiving with his old allies BJP, in Bihar. He has successfully won a Floor Test with a trust vote of 131 MLAs for and 108 against the motion, against corrupt and morally bankrupt former allies Congress and RJD.  A person of Moral Rectitude, Nitish has been trying hard to eradicate his State of corruption, but with little success. Alluding to Lalu Prasad’s fodder scam, the JDU leader made it clear that corruption will not be tolerated at all, even from the power centre of his erstwhile allies.  This time around it was the CBI raids on the properties owned by Lalu’s son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav that prompted the Bihar CM to break the Mahagathbandhan.  Sushasan Babu is a popular sobriquet  given by Biharis to Nitish Kumar. And considering BJP’s corruption free record so far, there is a good chance of it helping  Nitish to clean the Augean Stables in Bihar, hopefully.


Revival Parachute

Considering the fact that Indian roads are littered with stuck projects, revival of many of these projects is proving to be virtuous. Banks were staring at almost 400 stuck projects, but the MoRTH has saved the banking sector from Rs 3 lakh crore bad loans by reviving these stalled projects. Most of these projects were delayed due to extraneous reasons which had nothing to do with their viability. The MoRTH terminated several of these stuck projects, changed conditions for a few, and even spent money on completing some where the contractor wasn’t in a position to revive them. The biggest problem with stuck projects is the cost overrun, 287 infrastructure projects worth Rs 150 crore or above each have seen a cost overrun of Rs 1.66 lakh crore, according to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.  The MoRTH should look to revive more stuck projects by using this revival parachute to bail out stressed Contractors and Banks stressed with overexposure  to NPAs in the infra sector. As it is banks have reached their limits of exposure to the infra sector, so revival of more stuck projects would augur well for both sides.

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