News Excerpt
Recently, NITI Ayog launched an initiative to support development in Union Territories it is known as Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure Projects.

•    Ensuring a robust pipeline of delivery and investment in infrastructure projects would be critical in maintaining India’s strong economic growth trajectory.
•    A key action area for the Government of India to ensure this would be to have the efficient institutional capacity to deliver investable projects and establish well-developed and equitable contracting models to generate investor/private player confidence.
•    With the above in view, NITI AAYOG has started an initiative to provide Development Support Services to States (DSSS) for the development of projects of State/national importance.

About DSSS
    NITI Aayog has implemented a structured initiative for “Development Support Services for States (DSSS) for Infrastructure Projects” with a vision to achieve transformational, sustained delivery of infrastructure projects with state of art capacity disseminated at all levels of governance.
    The key objective is creating PPP success stories.
    The DSSS Infrastructure initiative involves providing project-level support from Concept planning to financial closure by State Governments / UTs.  
    NITI Aayog has appointed M/s Ernst & Young LLP (EYLLP) as its consultant to formalize the initiative and to engage with states to identify a project shortlist and providing transaction management for implementing selected infrastructure projects on ground.
    Phase I of the initiative was completed in FY 2018, wherein a demonstrable project shelf consisting of 10 projects were selected from out of over 400 projects received from States based on a multi-staged project selection framework criteria like responsiveness of submissions, readiness, land availability, impact, replicability, risk, viability assessment and state commitment.
    During the financial year 2018-19, Phase II of the initiative was completed, and the selected projects haveprogressed onto the transaction stage.  
Highlights of the MoU
    The partnership lays thrust on the identification of high impact priority projects, expedited project implementation, addressing the structural level issues and creating unique models of development for Union Territory of Ladakh.
    NITI Aayog aims to assist in identification of prioritized infrastructure projects and provide end-to-end transaction management support.

Initiatives such as DSSS are commendable steps which are much needed given the dire need of development of infrastructure in India. They have the potential to create job opportunities, develop a world-class infrastructure which is essential to attract foreign investments and improve the standard of living of the people. Such steps can in a way be considered as gateways to achieve the dream of 5 trillion-dollar economy of India.