Optimal approaches that recognize the specific kind of market failure/s, in the policy and design of infrastructure, greatly reduce the financing costs and improves the ability of to attract finance in the private provisioning of infrastructure. When state systems are weak organizationally it is first best to strengthen the state capacity so that it can minimally perform the roles of design, regulation, development of frameworks, and of monitoring, for the private provisioning of infrastructure. This is particularly so in the case where there are dual market failures arising out of both the natural monopoly and the appropriability failure aspect. Thus sewerage and water, city roads, multimodal facilities, solid waste, public health care, the challenges have proven beyond the current ability of the state, despite its large commitment to the use of private capital. The challenges in design and policy are large and with many false starts it is only now barely beginning to be considered in India. Thus infrastructure design rather than debilities in financial markets remain the key problem.
The need to develop capital markets and institutions to lend long is vital, but much of the challenge is really in having good projects that are financed keeping in mind the capacity limitations within banks and financial institutions. The potential to use of foreign capital to finance infrastructure is often overstated. Reform of financial institutions (FIs) and banks is vital today, as also the necessary incorporation of interest rate (change) risks into the project cost to overcome adverse selection. The forces leading to the current mess-up of the Indian banks and FIs in lending to infrastructure are brought in perspective. The key issues in developing state capacity, and the changes required for getting the design of infrastructure right, as also to bring functionality to the role of financial institutions in the private development of infrastructure are highlighted.