India needs a business structure for the delivery of sustainable infrastructure services (World Bank official)

KOLKATA: Utility-related projects should be developed through an enterprise-like structure with an adequate user-fee base so that entities can provide such services in a sustainable manner, the World Bank’s chief executive said on Friday. India, Junaid Ahmad.
Citing examples of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and Shimla Water Supply projects being developed through a corporate structure, he emphasized the establishment of entities that follow “the enterprise systems in order to provide the infrastructure services”.
Ahmad said corporatization of government departments or agencies is a challenge for India, although 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 to privatize public service providers but to transform them through a corporatized structure.
Noting that the poor pay more than middle-class households for water, he advocated increasing tariffs for the provision of public services.
“Traditionally, you can’t increase user charges because the poor will suffer. Today, who benefits from subsidized water charges? It’s the middle class and above. The poor are not connected to running water,” Ahmad said at an event hosted by the Bengal Chamber. of Trade and Industry.
He also stated that no legal entity can maintain its solvency without its user fee base.
“In India, user fees account for about 20% of operation and maintenance costs on average,” he added.