Leadership Speak

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Subhash Chand Sethi

Dear Stakeholders,

“We have realized that the projects we execute have greater impact on people’s lives by providing basic necessities like water and electricity. So, we have moved into being a very impact oriented company with deeper social conscience.”

Before I discuss the economy, business and company affairs, let us remember the people we lost during the coronavirus pandemic. It is a big humanitarian loss globally on such a large scale, severity and geographical spread that has never been seen before in a century.
For us the financial year 2020-21 was marked not only by its challenges due to COVID-19, but also by how people in the company came together to fight it. After the initial lockdowns, the company continued to operate its project sites and offices in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Central, State and local Governments, while strictly adhering to the prescribed safety protocols.

Even amidst the 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections and thereafter, the employees of the company constantly worked closely with the clients, associates and suppliers to ensure continuing project executions and uninterrupted supply of water and power to the people of our country through many water supply and electricity distribution projects. The commitment and courage shown by the employees during these testing times has been exemplary.

Government of India’s endeavors to accelerate vaccination program brings optimism for the future. The determined efforts to vaccinate all citizens are undoubtedly the most crucial to restore normalcy at the earliest possible. The crisis however is far from over. The distress caused by the pandemic continues to be a concern for lives and livelihoods as well as for our economic growth. Despite uncertainties, the Indian economy holds immense promise.

On his Independence Day speech, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has put the Covid shocks behind and places the economy on the fast-track, promising several initiatives. Rs. 100 trillion announcements for Pradhan Mantri Gatishakti Bharat Master Plan for integrated infrastructure growth will certainly see robust growth in the sector in coming years. He also set a target of making India energy independent by 2047 by replacing petroleum with other forms of energy produced indigenously and announced a National Hydrogen Mission noting the country spends Rs. 12 trillion on energy imports every year. The National Infrastructure Pipeline Project announced earlier and re-emphasized again also aimed at easier interconnectivity between road, rail, air and waterways to reduce travel time and improve industrial productivity.

The government is well aware about the emerging situation of water stress and has initiated a number of dedicated water supply schemes. The flagship, Jal Jeevan Mission will see huge spending worth Rs. 6.47 trillion under rural and urban water supply infrastructure development in the next 3 years’ time. As on August 2021; 8.11 crore (42.2%) out of 19.23 crore total households in the country has been connected with functional tap water supply. Every rural household in over 1.11 lakh villages and 78 districts is getting assured tap water supply in their home.

On the capex side, the National Infrastructure Pipeline Plan has already taken up 8,158 projects and another 1,858 projects are under development stage. 217 projects worth INR 1.10 lakh crore are already completed. Another 678 projects worth Rs. 6 lakh crore have been in the stage of formulation and implementation.

Water and electricity infrastructure is in focus of attention through implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission and the new power distribution scheme. On road connectivity, significant work is being done under the Bharatmala Pariyojana and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana which are expected to deliver gains in trunk and rural connectivity. Efficiency of transport services requires attention. Use of technology proposed under the National Logistics Policy is expected to deliver good results. With several key initiatives in the relevant sectors, it holds promises of good business prospects for the Company.

In order to execute successful projects at scale, we must organize our business with the perspective of long-term transformation that includes setting up operational fundamentals in a smart way. We need to think digitalization and embed appropriate innovative technologies into the core of our business with clear and smooth path to business growth. With end-to-end implementation in mind, we will need to ensure that we have or can source the right skill sets and capabilities.

Company Highlights
Since its inception in 1981, the Company has come a long way to stand tall as one the largest water management company in the country. Many years of dedication and sweat have contributed to this fruitful yet exhilarating journey. Over the years, we have created sustainable water infrastructures across the country to provide drinking water facilities to more than 50 million people and have been a valuable partner to the government and water utilities.

Notwithstanding the positives outlined above, there exists a fair probability of conditions remaining uncertain over a longer duration as the pandemic is yet to abate, both globally and locally with the emergence of newer strains. Large scale disruptions have affected the growth pattern and continue to trigger aftershocks that weigh on the recovery.

With the above background; significant highlights of FY 21 and the steps being taken by the Company to stay stronger as it continued to maintain its leadership in the core water sector.

  • The Company featured again in the World's Top 50 Private Water Companies, as per bi-annual survey by Global Water Intelligence, London. The Company continuously being featured in World’s Top 50 since 2015.
  • During the year, the Company also received substantial new project orders in joint ventures with different friendly companies worth Rs. 5,770 Crore from the esteemed clients in the state of Odisha, Manipur, and Uttar Pradesh including several projects under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • The Company continue to bid for water projects aggressively and the business development team has already submitted or in the process of submitting project tenders worth about Rs.20,000 Crore with our JV partners.
  • The Company has completed a drinking water supply project in Manipur in a record time of 18 months as against the project duration of 24 months despite being a challenging task to provide tap water facilities to around 300,000 populations in 73,014 households. The project was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur Shri N. Biren Singh.
  • The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has laid the foundation stone for Manipur water supply projects under the Jal Jeevan Mission which the Company will be executing.
  • The Company has secured an arbitration award of Rs.236.43 Crore against the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for Bongaigaon Thermal Power Plant in the State of Assam which has been challenged by the NTPC and final outcome is awaited.
  • The Company also featured among the BS1000 Top Indian Companies report published by leading business daily, Business Standard.
Every business has to discover its own ways to adapt to the new normal, find innovative approaches to meet the challenges and remain afloat in every aspect. The one who moves swiftly and take proactive measures is bound to sail through these turbulent times and emerge stronger. The company took the disruptions caused by the pandemic as an opportunity and initiated several proactive steps in digitalizing business operations, project monitoring, HR management, technological intervention in systems and processes and most importantly augmenting supply chain to ensure that it is prepared to meet the requirement of every project adequately on time.

The Company is committed to conduct business with a strong environment conscience, to ensure sustainable development, safe work places and enrichment of the quality of life of its employees, clients and the community. It respects human rights, values supporting organizations and invests in innovative technologies and solutions for the economic growth of the country. We stay committed to our core values for development of a better India in the making.

I wish and pray that this world emerges victorious from the crisis created by the pandemic. I urge each and every one of you to stay safe and take care of the loved ones.

Thank You !

Subhash Sethi


SPML Infra Limited