‘India needs corp structure for sustainable infra services delivery’

KOLKATA: Projects related to public services should be developed through a corporate-like structure with adequate user charge base so that the entities can sustainably deliver such services, World Bank India director Junaid Ahmad said on Friday.
Citing examples of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and Shimla water supply projects being developed through a corporate structure, he emphasised on creating entities that follow “company systems in order to deliver the infrastructure services”.
Ahmad said corporatisation of government departments or agencies is a challenge for India, though such a mechanism has been introduced in the country to deliver public services in a sustainable manner.
The World Bank official, however, clarified that he was not proposing for privatising public service providers but to transform them through a corporatised structure.
Mentioning that poor people pay more than middle-class households for water, he advocated increasing of charges for delivery of public services.
“Traditionally, you cannot increase user charges because the poor will suffer. Today, who benefits from subsidised water charges? It is the middle class and above. Poor people are not connected to piped water,” Ahmad said addressing an event organised by Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
He also said no corporate body can sustain creditworthiness without its user charge base.
“In India, user charge accounts for about 20 per cent of operation and maintenance cost on an average,” he added.

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