As India stands on the brink of a new fiscal year, all eyes turn towards the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, who is set to present the final budget under the current Narendra Modi government on February 1, 2024.

Among various sectors eagerly awaiting announcements, the construction and infrastructure industry holds a special place, bearing the weight of expectations and aspirations for transformative policies.

Pre-engineered buildings

Nikhil Bothra, Director at EPACK PREFAB, sheds light on the ongoing evolution of the infrastructure industry in India. With an anticipated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.57 percent during the forecast period of 2024-2029, the industry is at a pivotal juncture. Bothra emphasises the need for time and cost-effective solutions, a critical requirement as the industry expands. Moreover, the rising demand for green buildings, especially in the Asia Pacific region, clearly indicates the industry’s commitment to sustainable practices.

As India aims for a $5 trillion economy, Bothra advocates for a more efficient construction approach, citing pre-engineered buildings (PEBs) as a practical solution. PEBs offer a quicker construction method without compromising quality or environmental standards. Bothra suggests a constructive regulatory framework involving measures such as lowering GST or providing incentives for PEBs in government projects could significantly boost their utilisation within the industry.

Empowering logistics for economic growth

The logistics sector, a crucial companion to infrastructure development, sees the Union Budget as a gateway to enhanced productivity and overall growth. Darshan Ghodawat, CEO and Managing Director of AVA Global Logistics LLP, highlights the significance of aligning the budget with the government’s focus on boosting domestic manufacturing.

Ghodawat emphasises the need for a concentrated effort on fortifying logistics and related infrastructure. This includes speeding up connectivity projects in different economic zones, ultimately aiming to reduce logistics costs and time. By doing so, the budget can contribute to increased productivity and fortify the overall economy. Ghodawat’s insights underscore the interconnected nature of logistics and infrastructure, both playing integral roles in shaping India’s economic landscape.

Digital transformation and sustainable development

Rajan Aiyer, Vice President and Managing Director at Trimble, South Asia Region, anticipates a transformative fiscal approach in the 2024 budget. Recognising the construction and infrastructure industry as a vital contributor to India’s economic development, Aiyer stresses the importance of digital technologies in achieving cost-efficient, high-quality, and sustainable infrastructure development.

Trimble advocates for a government push to mandate the adoption of Constructible BIM, Digital Twin, and digital Asset management solutions in infrastructure projects. A commitment to these digital technologies signals a strategic move towards bolstering national connectivity and sustainable development. Aiyer’s expectations align with the industry’s call for a collaborative approach, emphasising digital transformation and skill development to propel the sector into a technologically advanced era.

A holistic approach to infrastructure development

Dr SB Hegde, Professor at Jain College of Engineering and Technology, Hubli, and Visiting Professor at Pennsylvania State University, provides a comprehensive view of the expected priorities in infrastructure development. Governments typically prioritise a comprehensive approach, with key focus areas including substantial investments in transportation, energy, and urban development projects.

Hegde highlights the importance of sustainable and green initiatives, rural infrastructure development, and public-private partnerships. The budget may encompass healthcare and education infrastructure enhancements, logistics and supply chain improvements, digital connectivity, broadband expansion, and measures aimed at job creation through various infrastructure initiatives. Hegde’s insights showcase the multifaceted nature of infrastructure development, addressing diverse aspects crucial for India’s holistic progress.

Charting a course for a resilient and sustainable future

As the Union Budget for 2024 takes centre stage, the construction and infrastructure industry looks forward to transformative policies that can shape India’s economic development trajectory. The expectations voiced by industry leaders underscore the need for efficiency, sustainability, and a holistic approach that encompasses digital transformation and skill development.

The upcoming budget has the potential to be a catalyst for change, propelling the industry into a technologically advanced era while addressing immediate needs and strategically positioning the sector for a resilient and sustainable future. As the Finance Minister unveils the budget, the construction and infrastructure industry remains optimistic about its role in India’s journey toward a $5 trillion economy.

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