In an effort to list out its infrastructure assets to be sold over the next four years, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched the National Monetization Pipeline. Addressing the media, Sitharaman said the Budget identified infrastructure as the key focus for public expenditure.
The National Monetization Pipeline comprises a four-year pipeline of the government’s brownfield infrastructure assets. FM Nirmala Sitharaman said assets being given out under the National Monetization Pipeline will still be owned by the government and will be returned to the government after a period of time. The government will not sell off any assets, but only utilize them in a better manner.
The end objective of this initiative is to enable “infrastructure creation through monetization” wherein the public and private sector collaborate, each excelling in their core areas of competence, so as to deliver socio-economic growth and quality of life to the country’s citizens, she added.
Monetization from the road sector
Maximum monetization by FY25 is expected from the road sector where Rs 1.6 lakh crore worth national highways of NHAI are identified.
The road sector is followed by the Railways sector where about 400 stations, about 150 trains, and some tracks and woodshed are identified worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
The power sector will see some Rs 67,000 crore worth transmission lines from Power Grid and Rs 32,000 crore worth Hydro, Solar, and Wind projects from NHPC, NTPC, and Neyveli Lignite for monetization.
InvIT mode or Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concessions
Most of the assets under monetization will be done through the InvIT mode or Public-Private Partnership concessions. In sectors like mining, the Centre may also look for auction and Mine Development Operator routes, for airports it may look at stake divestment as well.
Sitharaman said the asset monetization program is aimed at tapping private sector investment for new infrastructure creation and is necessary for creating employment opportunities, enabling high economic growth, and seamlessly integrating the rural and semi-urban areas for the overall public welfare.