2014 Lok Sabha Congress Manifesto: Trillion Dollars on Infrastructure

Writing a post on the Congress Manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections seems like an utter waste of time because it’s quite unlikely that they come to power, and even if they did, past record shows that they aren’t likely to implement any of what they say anyway.

Much of what I read seemed to be a continuation of the policies discussed earlier with promises for faster implementation, but it would take a foolishly optimistic person to believe that the time frames discussed can ever be reality.

One thing that did catch my eye was the promise to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure over the next decade, and I was interested to see how they arrived at that number, and if it was anything more than a sound bite.

In order to do so, I first started with the comparison of how much money the government currently spends on infrastructure.

I found that Rs. 1,81,634 crores was allocated to infrastructure in the 2014-15 budget, and that translates to about $35 billion according to the current exchange rate. So, just based on the what the government spends on infrastructure this target seems really ambitious and been inserted there for a sound bite instead of really ever having any real hopes of being met.

However, the Twelfth Five Year plan which runs for the years 2012 – 17 also gives  an infrastructure spending target which is the same – a trillion dollars in 5 years. The key difference is that the five year plan says that the share of the private sector should be 48% in the total infrastructure spending, so in that sense I feel that the origin of the trillion dollar in a decade number must really be the five year plan, and while I think it is improbable that the Congress or any other government achieves this, the target is not a complete sound bite.

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