Kelkar Committee Report: Reforming the PPP
In the Union Budget 2015-16, Finance Minister announced that the PPP mode of infrastructure development has to be revisited, and revitalized. In pursuance of this announcement, a Committee was constituted to look into the issues.
The proposals include a provision for monetisation of projects, revamp of the model concession agreement and creation of a new institutional mechanism.
What was committee asked to look into?
- Review of the experience of PPP Policy.
- Analyse risks involved in PPP projects in different sectors and suggest optimal risk sharing mechanism.
- Propose design modifications in PPP based on international best practices and our institutional context.
- Measure to improve capacity building in govt for effective implementation of the PPP projects.
Why is there need to reform PPP framework?
Background: PPP contracts are typically of very high-value, often with huge capital and operating costs.
- The emergence of risks not foreseen at the time of signing the agreement exposes such projects to potential distress, making them unviable for the developers and prompting demands for a renegotiation of the original terms.
How to manage risks in PPP projects?
- Optimal allocation of risks across PPP stakeholders to boost investment.
- Sector specific model concession pacts to capture interest of all stakeholders.
What are the design modifications proposed by the committee?
The Kelkar panel has come out with clear-cut norms on resolving issues and clarifying norms on re-negotiation of contracts.
- Formulate a national PPP policy and seeking Parliament’s backing for it to be effective.
- It emphasised upon the need to establish independent sector regulators for faster implementation of infrastructure projects and swifter dispute resolution mechanisms.
- The report stated that the PPP structure should not be adopted for small projects.
- It added that the govt should encourage development of airports, ports and railways through PPP, by ensuring easier funding for projects with long gestation periods.
Let’s take a look at much deeper level about various specific dimensions of PPP framework and panel’s recommendation.
How to streamline the stalled projects?
Background: The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) says that 40% of all central govt infrastructure projects are behind schedule or have overshot their original cost estimates.
Panel’s view: Follow the example of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and NHAI, which has taken several successful steps in reducing the number of stalled projects in the sector.
What are the institutions proposed in the report?
- An Infrastructure PPP Project Review Committee be constituted.
- It recommends creation of an Infrastructure PPP Adjudication Tribunal.
How to renegotiate the PPP contracts?
Background: More than 50% of PPP projects come up for renegotiation.
The panel has suggested extensive guidelines stipulating the reasons that form the basis for re-negotiation & those that should not be entertained as valid reasons.
The panel wants full disclosure of few items prior to the renegotiation:
- Long-term costs
- Risks and potential benefits
- Financial implications for the govt
Panel has suggested formation of an independent body, like a renegotiation commission, which can oversee the renegotiation of model concession agreements across sectors.
What is panel’s view on Swiss Challenge method?
Swiss Challenge Method: It is a process of awarding contracts as any person with credentials can submit a development proposal to the govt, which will be made online and a second person can give suggestions to improve and beat that proposal.
The Panel wants Swiss Challenge method to be actively discouraged.
Reason: It brings information asymmetries in the procurement process and result in lack of transparency and in the fair and equal treatment of potential bidders in the procurement process.
Criticism: India’s ambitious plan to build new expressways across the country by adopting the ‘Swiss Challenge’ method has become uncertain.
Why report calls for changes in anti-corruption law?
The report calls for promptly amending the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
Reason: To differentiate between genuine errors in decision-making and plain corrupt practices.
What is panel’s view on 3P India?
Background: Finance Minister had announced the setting up of 3P India in 2014-15 budget with a corpus of Rs 500 crore.
The panel wants the revival of a defunct proposal to establish 3P India to support PPP projects. It can function as a centre of excellence, enable research, and review and roll out activities to build capacity
How to deal with private sector?
The private sector must be protected against the loss of bargaining power over long time spans. It has asked for comprehensive guidelines to be framed in this regard.
How to build capacity in PPP projects?
- Strengthen 3 key pillars of PPP framework – governance, institutions and capacity.
- Structured capacity building programmes for different stakeholders.
- A national level institution to back institutional capacity building activities.
The report pitches for pragmatism, transparency and a business-like attitude for all stakeholders.
Published with inputs from Pushpendra