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Past Event

Building India’s Future: International Cooperation on Infrastructure

On May 19, Brookings India hosted Arun Kumar, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, for a discussion on ‘Building India’s Future: International Cooperation on Infrastructure’ as part of the Foreign Policy Workshop Series. Kumar leads the trade and investment promotion efforts for the U.S. Government, and was earlier a partner and member of the Board of Directors at KPMG and the CEO and CFO of three technology ventures in Silicon Valley. Participants in the discussion included representatives from the Indian private sector, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Finance, international organizations, the media, and business interest groups.

The discussion revolved around three broad issues in Indian infrastructure: financing, procurement processes, and governance. Specifically, there were widespread concerns that the costs of capital and risks associated with investment were too high; that procurement processes were fragmented; and that life-cycle costs of infrastructure projects were not being fully taken into account. Although the regulatory structure of India is robust and procurement processes are in place, India faces challenges in implementing projects and enforcing contracts. Discussants acknowledged that some of the easier problems in roads and powers were now being addressed, but differed significantly on the merits and efficacy of public-private partnerships as a form of financing future infrastructure. Participants also discussed ways to accelerate progress on infrastructure, and best practices in linking investment to good governance.

Kumar was earlier a partner and member of the Board of Directors at KPMG, LLP and was the CEO and CFO of three technology ventures in Silicon Valley. Mr Kumar received his master’s in management from the Sloan School of Management and bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Kerala. He started his career in India as a member of TAS, the central management cadre of the Tata Group.

Like other products of the Brookings Institution India Center, this report is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues. Brookings India does not hold any institutional views.

Moderator
Rakesh Mohan, Distinguished Fellow, Brookings India
Discussant
Arun M. Kumar, Assistant Secretary for Global Markets, U.S. Department of Commerce

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