Efficacy of technology lies in its people orientation. Stating this in the session on ‘Connectivity and Communication: Fast tracking infrastructure development and financing’, on the penultimate day of the 3-day CII Partnership Summit organised in Visakhapatnam, Mr Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Minister of Civil Aviation, Government of India, said that the civil aviation industry itself is all about connecting people. He added that policy making should be very clearly guided by the central purpose for which it being done. He cited how, now that drones are being widely used, there is a clarion call for a policy on the use of drones.
Mr N Sivasailam, Special Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India, spoke about how ‘Make in India 2.0’ will support ‘Industry 4.0”. He pointed out that in the telecom sector India is keeping pace with the world leaders in the preparations for ushering in the 5G telecom ecosystem, and is also a part of the standard setting mechanism for 5G telecom.
5G telecom is expected to be rolled out in India in 2022, and will create an enabling infrastructure for leveraging technologies like IoT, machine to machine learning, etc. Mr Sivasailam asserted that communications will have to fully integrate with IT. He stated that the first draft of a new National Telecom Policy is ready.
Mr Sabyasachi Mitra, Deputy Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB), spoke about the bank’s deep engagement with Andhra Pradesh in the development of the East Coast Economic Corridor and the industrial corridor nodes at Visakhapatnam and Srikalahasti. Mr Mitra said that the infrastructure development will pave the way for promotion of 11 industries in the region, generating 1.7 million jobs. ADB is also engaged in the development of a strategic grid network that links the logistics infrastructure with the production centres in the hinterland.
Baroness Sandip Verma, Member of House of Lords, UK, said the infrastructure projects need to be future-proofed, such that they factor in the use of artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, etc. With use of AI, people’s roles in industries are being defined. People have to be at the heart of infrastructure development, she said. In the UK, digital interventions are being made in a major way to enhance the ease of doing business, she added.
Mr Geoffrey Clements, Chairman, Commonwealth Infrastructure Partners, UK, said that organisational capacity building has assumed critical significance in today’s dynamically changing business environment. It is important for an organisation to align its management and technical capabilities, horizontally and vertically. He expressed his appreciation of the Andhra Pradesh Government’s initiatives to drive organisational capacity building across the spectrum.
Mr Julian Michael Bavis, Sr Director, Group Relations, South Asia, Maersk Group, said that logistics policy makers would be well advised to keep in view that (i) market forces act as the best regulator (ii) regulations must be allowed to evolve with the changing times (iii) logistics infrastructure should be scalable (iv) digitisation must be promoted – not just for the ease of doing business but also for the transparency that it brings with it (v) in-land connectivity must be given due emphasis.
Ms Olga Kulikova, Business Ambassador, Business Russia to India, said that private sector investments complemented by government subsidies and reimbursements are mainly driving infrastructure project financing in Russia. Lease financing is popular in Russia, she added.
Mr Raizwan Soomar, CEO & Managing Director – Indian Subcontinent, DP World, UAE, said the ‘Make in India’ programme will spur more production, and in turn more cargo movement, which augurs well for the ports sector. Dubai Ports holds six concessions in India. He asserted that port-led development is vital for manufacturing growth, and road and rail connectivity with the ports infrastructure is equally important. Mr Soomar also said that digital connectivity will make the infrastructure management more efficient and deliver more transparency. DP World handles a port terminal in Visakhapatnam.
Mr Romesh David, CEO, South Asia Gateways Terminals (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka, stated that Colombo Port attaches very high priority to the country’s engagement with India. While Colombo Port ranks 23rd globally, half of the volume is accounted for from and to India.
Mr Sivakumar Gunturu, CEO, Maple Software Pvt Ltd, moderated the session.