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Infrastructure procurement must support decarbornization: Jayant Sinha at Global Procurement Summit

17 Jan 2023

Mr Jayant Sinha, former Minister of State for Finance and Civil Aviation and currently the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, argued for turning infrastructure procurement into a climate crusade. “Get the suppliers to invest in decarbonization and support them with finance,” he said at the 8th Global Procurement Summit organized by All India Management Association (AIMA) in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Mr Sinha emphasized that financing is the key to achieving net zero emission targets in India and in the global south, where the emerging economies are concentrated and where emissions are likely to rise substantially because of economic growth. He argued that the only way the global north can fight warming of the earth is by providing finance and technology to the global south where the fight again climate change is centered. 

World Bank and other multilateral funding agencies are not doing enough to support the climate change mitigation efforts in the emerging economies, Mr Sinha argued and said that these agencies must provide India $50-100 billion a year to fight climate change. He put the aggregate requirement of the global south for climate change mitigation measures at $2 trillion a year.

Going net zero is net positive, Mr Sinha argued and said that moving to green technologies is the key to unlocking India’s potential for rapid GDP growth and job creation. He said that India’s private sector’s annual investment has to double from the present $65 billion to enable India to achieve its net zero deadline of 2070. He emphasized that India is losing lives to pollution and those born and brought up in the capital are set to lose ten years of their lives to the polluted environment.

AIMA President, Mr Shrinivas Dempo said that given the huge outlays of infrastructure projects and their lasting impact on the economy and the society, it was critical to design and execute such projects in a manner that avoided waste and delays. “Infrastructure procurement objectives need to include not just timely and low-cost sourcing but also the long-term relevance and viability of the infrastructure that is being created,” he said. He also emphasized that by insisting on sound ESG credentials of suppliers, public procurement can have a beneficial impact on the broader economy.

World Bank’s Country Director for India, Mr Auguste Tano Kouamé pointed out that India’s infrastructure procurement sector is set for a rapid and long-term boom given the country’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure pipeline. He said that the global south would be a huge procurement market as 70% of the infrastructure that should be there is yet to be built. “There is an opportunity for procurement to transform conventional economies to green economies,” he said. He said that public procurement could also serve to stimulate industrialization, innovation, job creation, gender and geographic inclusion, and international competition. Mr Kouame admitted that World Bank remains a small player in India’s procurement sector with a portfolio of $21 billion, yet he emphasized its significant role in capacity building through digitalization and training. World Bank is AIMA’s partner in delivering a diploma in procurement management.

Asian Development Bank’s Country Director for India, Mr Takeo Konishi mentioned ADB’s involvement in India’s transit oriented development projects through the Gati Shakti programme. He said that ADB’s India strategy includes supporting climate resilience and inclusive growth efforts. He said that ADB has introduced a new procurement framework which is principles and risks based and not procedure based. “We are moving towards quality and value for money principles and away from the cost only approach,” he said.

The two-day Global Procurement Summit has brought together senior government functionaries, major corporates, Indian and multilateral financial institutions, and global procurement and supply chain experts.

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