After two years of any noteworthy sectoral momentum, it is time for the CE industry to be alive and kicking. Thanks to the new government which has rekindled the hopes of a better growth trajectory by its intrinsic intention on initiating a slew of measures to restore the economy to high growth path. Fast-tracking PPP mechanism, modernisation of railways, kick-starting the Diamond Quadrilateral Project of high-speed trains, networking freight corridors, time-bound National Highway Programmes, promoting low-cost airports, development of ports and inland and coastal waterways, creation of 100 smart cities if these early signs from the government are to be believed, the CE industry has ample reasons to expect much better days ahead.
As far as the road sector is concerned, the projects in pipeline are certainly huge. In 2014-2015, the government plans to award 4,000 km of road projects on the EPC mode; and road projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor are expected to give a major boost to the demand for road machinery. Along with this, road development in the rural sector will be a major driver in the coming years.
However, OEMs despite being fully geared up with advanced products with the latest technology, adoption of the same seems to be on snail´s pace. For example, world over, road construction experts as well as OEMs, vouch for the efficacy of intelligent compaction technology lauding the way it has led to improved roads. However, we are yet to see the use of this technology in our major road projects. Another example is the advancement in the installation equipment for a variety of pile construction. While it is noteworthy that we have shifted from the ´tripod´ culture to the use of rigs and hydraulic hammers; at the same time, the pace of transition to advanced and new generation rigs is painfully slow.
Another area that needs attention is the use of machine control and monitoring systems. Technology comes with a cost. Machine control systems definitely involve significant cost; however, it has a positively proportional relation with the return on investment by delivering high working efficiency, accuracy and increased production. Initial high cost has always been a deterrent in all these spheres. It has been proved that the use of advanced technologies, in the long term, is more cost-effective than the conventional systems. Upgradation of existing codes and specifications and concerted efforts by all the stakeholders to increase the awareness on the efficacy of these technologies constitute the need of the hour.
This meaty edition offers a comprehensive coverage of the above areas that need immediate attention. With the Union Budget scheduled in the second week of July, the entire industry seems to be on a highly expectant mood, with the hope that the government will now shift to higher gear for bold, long-term and deep fiscal and economic reforms. This will catapult the Indian economy back to high growth trajectory.