Delhi: September 2017-The 5th edition of The Economic Times Infra Focus Summit organized by ET Edge brought the luminaries and policymakers of the Infrastructure sector together to discuss and formulate holistic solutions for key infrastructural challenges across Asia. The event was held at the Taj Mahal hotel in Delhi. Centred on the theme,‘Building Business Beyond Boundaries’, the event garnered interesting viewpoints that could contribute to the growth story for infrastructural projects across Asia.

 Suresh Prabhu, Commerce and Industry minister, congratulated The Economic Times for its role as a change agent and said, “With the rise in infrastructure investments in the country,thisshould be atleast 10 percent of the GDP. Every year we should invest US $ 250 billion, but for promoting that we need different ideas and policies that we can implement. I appeal to all of you participating in the summit to give ideas so that we can work on the ground.”

Remarking on the pioneering effort made by the group, Deepak Lamba, President – Times Strategic Solutions, said: “It was exciting to see the leaders reach a positive direction with discussions on enhancing and exploring opportunities for the growth of technology, energy and transport sectors – the overarching beneficiaries of the infrastructure sector. I am sure that this summit will give a fillip for the development of this sector with special emphasis on execution of projects.”

The event commenced with a keynote address by Salah Sharaf, Director General, Sharaf Group, UAE, who said: “Several Asian nations still need better quality bridges, railways, ports, harbours, power plants, gas pipelines etc. Governments need to rethink how to establish new infrastructure in their countries.” His sentiments were echoed by Atul Punj, Chairman & MD, Punj Lloyd, who stated thatwhile infrastructure is an exciting space to be in and Indian companies have left a mark on the global level, the contractors are still in nomadic space. “The Fairness of how contractors are dealt with is a major bottleneck in the country,” he remarked.

Later, the leading thinkers from Asia’s infrastructure sectors assembled for a thought-provoking panel discussion on ‘Integrating International Corridors for Quantifying Economic Development.’ There was also an interesting international case study on modelling the approach to economic corridors, presented by LoayGhazaleh, who is an advisor at Ministry of Works in Bahrain.The summit led to interesting and encouraging numbers shared by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, who apprised the audience of the growth journey of the aviation sector in the last three years. “In FY17, the passenger trips haveincreased from 10 crores to an astounding 16 crores. Also, the order book for airplanes has shown remarkable growth, as there are 650 planes on order right now. No country has more planes on order compared to India right now. This is indeed extraordinary achievement,” He said.

He also remarked that there has been a dramatic growth in the number of airports as well as the government has started 30 new airports, in lieu of just Rs.200 crores subsidy. Under UdeDeshkaAamNagrik (UDAN) scheme, policy packages have been designed intelligently for tier 2 and tier 3 cities to make flying easier and affordable for the common man. He also touched upon the medical tourism industry and said that building world-class medical complexes around airports boosts this sector as well. “We can achieve the full potential of our aero properties by integrated regional planning and collaborated development with all stakeholders affected by it,” he concluded.

TheInfra Focus Summit proved to be asuccessful platform for change-makers to come together and exchange ideas on how to turn India from a developing nation to a developed one. The summit evaluated various threats, challenges and opportunities in the sector and also the potential gains from the opening up of international corridors.

About ET Edge

Times Strategic Solutions Ltd., functional under the brand name ET Edge, is an Economic Times initiative founded to empower multiple industries and segments by sharing critical business knowledge through strategic conferences and summits. Encompassing the Indian business vista, ET Edge strives to bring together visionaries and key leaders on its knowledge platforms to create social and business ecology conducive to the positive changes required by the industry. The main aim of this initiative is to channel global business intelligence through summits and conferences in overarching lectures, hands-on workshops, panels, roundtables and case studies.