Press Information Bureau
Government of India
NITI Aayog
06-September-2016 18:14 IST
Measures to revive the Construction Sector

The construction sector has been facing a number of problems, mainly arising from the liquidity constraints caused on account of their payments not being released by the Government Departments/ Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) pursuant to the arbitral awards. To discuss the problems of the construction sector, detailed deliberations/ consultations were held with the representatives of the construction industry, banks, major government PSUs and concerned Ministries/ Departments.

Based on the above deliberations/ consultations, the NITI Aayog placed a proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for its consideration suggesting various short- term and long-term measures required for addressing the issues ailing the construction sector. The CCEA, chaired by the Prime Minister, has considered the proposals of NITI Aayog in its meeting held on 31st August 2016 and approved the same for the revival of construction sector.

Following instructions have been issued for compliance and necessary action by all concerned i.e. the Government Departments/ Ministries/ Public Sector Undertakings awarding the public contracts/ implementing various projects involving construction activities.

* In case of contracts/ concessions where the process of arbitration was initiated under the pre-amended Arbitration Act, the PSUs/ Departments may seek the consent of the contractors/ concessionaires to transfer the pending cases under the amended Arbitration Act, wherever possible. The shift to amended Arbitration Act is expected to make the arbitration process more cost effective and help in settlement of the disputes in a timely manner;

*In case of claims where the PSU/ Department has challenged the Arbitral Award already announced, 75% of the award may be paid by the PSU/ Department to the contractor/ concessionaire against Bank Guarantee without prejudice to the final order of the Court in the matter under challenge. The payment may be made into a designated Escrow Account with the stipulation that the amount so released will be used, first, for payment of lenders' dues, second, for completion of the project and then for completion of other projects of the same PSU/ Department, as mutually agreed/ decided. Any balance remaining in the escrow account subsequent to settlement of lenders' dues and completion of projects of the PSU/ Department may be allowed to be used by the contractor/ concessionaire with the prior approval of the lead banker and the Department/PSU.

*In case the subsequent court order requires refund of the money paid by a PSU/ Department against a Bank Guarantee, the amount shall be refunded by the contractor/ concessionaire along with appropriate interest. The rate of interest on such refund amount may be decided by the PSU/ Department keeping in view the cost of capital to the PSU/ Department or the rate of interest provided for in the Contract Agreement or the rate of interest awarded under the Arbitral Award under challenge.

*For Departments, cost of capital shall be taken as Weighted Average Coupon rate of outstanding stock of Central Government securities for the period ending in the preceding quarter, or Weighted Average Coupon rate of Central Government securities issued during the preceding quarter (whichever is higher);

*PSUs shall either calculate their own cost of capital or take State Bank of India's One Year Marginal Cost of fund-based Lending Rate plus 2%;

*The appropriate interest rate on such refund shall be decided at the time of releasing funds to the Escrow Account;

*If otherwise eligible and subject to contractual provisions, retention money and other amounts withheld may also be released against bank guarantee as per the laid down criteria.