Round table on “Infrastructure Standards in India’s Transport Sector”, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) in collaboration with IIT Jodhpur, March 2018.

The roundtable aims to review the existing framework for developing,adopting and implementing infrastructure standards in India. With a focus on the transport sector,it will explore some of the issues and difficulties that arise in trying to build resilient infrastructure in India, and how this process is regulated.

New infrastructure construction and rapid urbanisation are an integral part of India’s growth process. Unplanned and disasterprone infrastructure puts millions of lives, livelihoods and assets at risk. Adoption of standards aims to mitigate this risk, and loss of investment in infrastructure. It helps manage multiple risks to infrastructure as well as increasing functionality in its day-to-day operation.

Making infrastructure resilient requires constant development and improvement of standard stokeeppace with emerging risks,new risk assessment technologies and developments in structural, engineering and material science. In India, the key role of standards in ensuring safety is not reflected in the demand for them, raising issues of awareness. Further,the process of developing standards varies by sector, and is not always inline with international best practice. This is partly due to lack of technical capacity in the standard development process.

Further challenges involve adopting theses tandards at various levels of government that are tasked with the responsibility of implementing them. Effective implementation requires a clear process for development and rigorous mechanisms to increase compliance, along with adequate human resources, dispute resolution mechanisms and systems for providing feedback on implementation issues to those developing the standards.

In India, capacity building is required both in terms of the competence of professionals ensuring safety, and wellastheirquantity. Identifying the role of relevant professionals in the development process allows for accountability, and their continuous education and licensing.The limited availability of these professionals in infrastructure development should not drain expertise from the academic sector at the expense of the quality of education of future practitioners. Further,the legal framework for infrastructure development is complex and stems from the

Constitution of India, which defines the responsibilities of infrastructure provision based on sector. Some gaps emerge in the current framework, and a thorough legal review is required to identify them. In terms of developing standards, some standard setting bodies used by the government have a legal mandate, but others do not. In implementation, legally mandated fiscal mechanisms become important, and are view of these is also required. This round table aims to take stock of the existing framework for infrastructure standards in India in order to understand the extent to which it deviates from the desired framework, and the solutions to bring it there. To do this,the round table will closely examine the questions detailed below.

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    Regulating standards for infrastructure safety in India, Sanhita Sapatnekar
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    Standards of professional competence in India's transport sector, Mahesh Tandon
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    Capacity building for standards in India’s transport sector, Ravi Sinha
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    Implementation of standards in India’s transport sector, Alok Bhowmick