Union Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday launched the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) that will include the Centre’s four-year plan to monetise its brownfield infrastructure assets. The entire NMP aims to monetise assets worth Rs 6-trillion and includes a range of assets put on the block for private sector participation. The plan is to lease out state-owned infrastructure assets over the next four years to fund new capital expenditure without pressuring government finances.
While launching the NMP on Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasised the fact that the government will not sell off any assets and there will be a mandatory hand-back.
She said, “The ownership of assets remains with the government. There will be a mandatory hand back. They (private sector partners) will have to give it back after a certain time,” and added that, “By bringing in private participation, we are going to monetize it (assets) better and with whatever resource that you obtained by monetisation, you are able to put in for further investment into infrastructure building.”
Even in the Union Budget speech of 2021-22, she said the government has identified monetisation of operating public infrastructure assets as a key means for sustainable infrastructure financing. Towards this, the Budget provided for the preparation of a ‘National Monetisation Pipeline’ of potential brownfield infrastructure assets. The report on the National Monetisation Pipeline has been prepared by the NITI Aayog in consultation with infra line ministries.
The highest contributing sector in this 4-year NMP is Roadways which will contribute 27 per cent of the total ₹6 Lakh Crore.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharamanannounced that after roads, the second-highest contributing sector at 26 per cent is the Railways. The government has identified key rail assets for monetisation during FY22-25 which includes 400 railway stations, 90 passenger trains, 1 route of 1,400km railway track, 741 km of Konkan Railway, 15 railway stadiums and selected railway colonies, 265 railway owned goods-sheds and 4 hill railways. All these will contribute ₹1.52 Lakh Crore.
Another major sector identified is telecom which will contribute assets worth ₹35,100 crore which can be monetised by the financial year 2024. These include 2.86 lakh kilometres of optical fibre assets laid by BBNL and BSNL under rural broadband project Bharatnet at ₹26,300 crore.
At the launch, she informed that the end objective of this initiative is to enable “infrastructure creation through monetisation” 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 citizen