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Title: Public Private Partnerships in road transport infrastructure in India : a governance perspective
Author: Verma, Manisha
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Public Private Partnerships, or PPPs, are being increasingly preferred by governments across the world for filling the infrastructure deficit, as they are claimed to provide access to private capital, and bring private sector efficiencies in provisioning of public services. In India too, a distinct policy shift towards PPPs in various sectors has been observed accompanied by a high degree of reliance on such partnerships to upscale the transport infrastructure. A growing body of literature however reveals serious flaws in the claims of economic superiority, effectiveness and profitability of the PPPs. They are being questioned on various accounts of transparency, accountability, equity, and excessive profiteering by the private partners. This gives rise to an advocacy for the enhanced role of the State in governance of PPPs. In this background, this research explores the nature of division of roles and responsibilities, allocation of risks and sharing of benefits by the State and the private partners within the PPPs in the context of road transport sector in India. It further examines the extent of investment of resources by the private partners in the projects. The factors shaping PPPs in road transport in India are also examined. This research suggests measures to strengthen the structures and mechanisms within the public and private partners to improve public infrastructure within the PPP framework. In order to achieve the research aims, and to gain a deeper perspective of the governance issues of PPPs from different administrative levels, two national and two state highways (one in construction while the other in operational stage in both cases) along with an intra-city transport project, part of which is already operationalised, were selected for the study. This study is rooted in critical realism according to which understanding of any social phenomenon can be achieved through study of the underlying multi-layered structures and mechanisms which cause the phenomenon. Research findings reveal that while PPP projects in highways largely followed the theoretical model of PPPs, the urban transportation project was found to be substantially deviating from a general PPP model discussed in the literature due to the unique requirements of urban transport infrastructure in India. The widely accepted argument of PPPs bringing in private capital to public services has been debunked by the Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit System (ABRTS). The project is substantially funded by the national and state governments due to limited incentives for the private sector to invest in these projects under BOT mode. The under-developed capability within the private sector in urban transportation projects in India resulted in unbundling of services rather than one private agency providing all of them. The local urban body has retained several risks as it more suitably located to bear them more efficiently. In the PPPs in highways, the public partner has shifted many of its responsibilities to the concessionaire primarily due to shortage of adequate manpower with the public partner, and the incentive of timely completion of the project with the private partner. Adoption of the PPP mode in highways has not been able to avoid time and cost over-runs, largely due to the public partners not meeting their share of responsibilities. Land acquisition has emerged as the single most contentious issue of PPPs in infrastructure in India and is the major cause for delay in PPP projects. In addition, serious issues in land-grabbing and profiteering by the private partners have also been observed. A more active role of the State in PPPs is suggested to improve the delivery of public services through the PPP mode. This may require establishing additional structures and mechanisms of governance to meet the emerging requirements of these new modes of procurement, and to strengthen the existing ones.
Supervisor: Rees, Christopher ; Hossain, Mohammad Farhad Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: India ; Public Private Partnership ; PPP ; Road transport infrastructure ; Governance ; Public Policy