Funds, labour to slowdown re-booting process of projects in major sectors of India

BARRING pharmaceuticals and healthcare all other sectors are affected by the current lockdown and it would take a while for these units to restart functioning after the lockdown is lifted, revealed a survey recently undertaken by Projects Today.

India’s largest online database of new and ongoing projects in India, Projects Today, conducted a nationwide survey of experts in the project fraternity to pick their brain and learn their views on the current situation and the likely projects investment scenario in major sectors during the post-lockdown period. In all, 233 leaders, a  part of the Indian project fraternity (promoters, architects, consultants and contractors) selected from across India participated in the Survey.

The more than 60 days’ nationwide lockdown has brought the entire economy to a standstill. producers, consumers and the Government all are uncertain when the pandemic will slow down or when factories and offices can commence functioning.

India witnessed one of the longest and unprecedented lockdowns seen across the world and also saw reverse migration of millions of labourers from their work town to hometown fearing hunger, exposure to the virus and uncertain future.

As per the survey, for promoters the main hurdles in kick-starting their halted projects are getting adequate funds at reasonable interest, finding labourers matching the skills of those who have left for their hometown and procuring the required raw materials and machinery at the project site. The nationwide lockdown has completely disintegrated the supply chain network. It will take a while to reorganise the same. The other three constituents of the projex world – architects, consultants and contractors — said their immediate priority would be, to complete the projects in hand and try to retain their current clients.

The survey participants expect the ‘Work from Home’ culture to continue during the post-COVID-19 era. Hence, they see demand for housing (bigger houses) to go up in the long run. On the other side, they think the demand for Commercial space will undergo some change as large companies would look for disintegrating their offices – instead of having one centralised office, setting up smaller offices to reduce the commuting time and adopt the new norms work culture.

As far as Advantage India is concerned around 27.9 per cent of the survey participants said there is no advantage India because the country will take at least next two to three years to come out of the current economic moribund. Further, they opined that India does not possess the key advantages China has – high-class infrastructure, liberal labour laws and very industry-friendly policies. On the positive side, a whopping 69 per cent of the survey respondents agreed that India does have an opportunity to emerge as a winner on the other side of COVID-19 at least in a couple of sectors like pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, automobiles, textiles, etc.

To re-boot the economy, the Government of India presented a whopping Rs 20,00,000 crore economic stimulus involving both fiscal and monetary measures. It also proposed some path-breaking reforms in the agriculture, mining, power distribution, health and education sectors. It has also assured to bring in the long-delayed labour reforms soon. How far all these measures will mitigate the current economic pain and will put India once again on the growth path will depend on the timely and effective implementation of the proposals and revival in the domestic demand.

Projex in Hotspot Districts

As per Projects Today, of the 130 Red Zone districts, 108 have projects investment and as of March 31, 2020, there were 29,255 projects entailing a total investment of Rs 51,07,831 crore. Of this, 8,917 projects worth Rs 21,11,985 crore were under various stages of implementation, but are currently halted due to the nationwide lockdown. Around 62.9 per cent of such projex are owned by government agencies and the balance 37.1 per cent is by private companies.

Among the hotspot districts, Mumbai and Mumbai Suburban together account for 12.5 per cent of the total under-execution projects found in the hotspot districts of India. Mumbai is also the leading district in terms of virus-affected people and the death toll.

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