Infrastructure for a New India
September 06, 2018
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Infrastructure and connectivity act as arteries for development and growth of any nation. It is evident that infrastructure development has been given priority by the NDA government under PM Narendra Modi. For fulfilling the dream of New India, the NDA government is focussing on development of railways, roadways, waterways, aviation or affordable housing.

Railways

The Indian rail network is one of the largest railway networks in the world. The pace of track renewal, elimination of unmanned level crossings and commissioning of broad gauge lines has significantly improved during NDA government under PM Modi.

Railways recorded its best-ever safety record with less than 100 accidents in a year in 2017-18. Data reveals that 118 railway accidents were recorded in 2013-14 which have declined to 73 in 2017-18. 5,469 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated, with average pace of elimination at 20% more than that of 2009-14. All unmanned level crossings on broad gauge routes targeted to be eliminated by 2020 for better safety.

Bringing railways development on track, there is a 50% increase in track renewal, from 2,926 km during 2013-14 to 4,405 km during 2017-18. Broad gauge commissioned during 4 years of NDA government under PM Modi (9,528 km) is much greater than that commissioned during 2009-14 (7,600 km).

For the first time Northeast India is fully integrated with the rest of India with the entire network converted to broad gauge. It brought Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on the rail map of India after 70 years of independence!

For developing New India, we need advanced technology too. The bullet train, planned from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, will reduce travel time from about 8 hrs to 2 hrs.

 

Aviation

Rapid progress is happening in civil aviation sector too. Promising affordable air travel under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), 25 operational airports have been added in just 4 years, as opposed to 75 airports between Independence and 2014. Regional air connectivity to unserved and underserved airports at subsidised fare of Rs 2,500 per hour has helped to fulfil dream of many Indians to travel by air. Thus, for the first time more people travelled in airplanes than in AC trains.

With passenger traffic growth in the range of 18-20% in the past three years, India has emerged as the world’s third largest aviation market. Number of domestic air passengers crossed 100 million in 2017.

 

Shipping

India is also taking rapid strides in the shipping sector under PM Narendra Modi’s government. Accelerating port-led development, the turn around time at major ports have been reduced by a third, from 94 hrs in 2013-14 to 64 hrs in 2017-18.

Consider the cargo traffic at major ports. It declined from 570.32 MT in 2010-11 to 545.79 MT in 2012-13. However, under the NDA government it improved to 679.367 MT during 2017-18, a whopping increase of more than 100 MT!

Inland waterways significantly reduce the transportation costs and boost the economy apart from reducing carbon foot print. 106 national waterways were added in the last 4 years compared to 5 national waterways in the last 30 years.

Road development

Expansion of highways with multi-modal integration has been taken up under transformative project Bharat Mala Pariyojana. National highway network expanded from 92,851 km in 2013-14 to 1,20,543 km in 2017-18.

Setu Bharatam project for safer roads, with total outlay of Rs. 20,800 crores, envisages building of railway overbridges or under passes to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings.

The pace of road construction has almost doubled. Speed of highways construction was 12 km per day during 2013-14 which stood at 27 km per day as of 2017-18.

 

Development of India’s longest ever tunnel, Chenani-Nashri, in Jammu as well as India’s longest bridge, Dhola-Sadiya, for enhanced connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh are testimony to the commitment to take development to hitherto untapped regions. Building of bridges over Narmada at Bharuch and Chambal at Kota have also improved road connectivity in the regions.

Roads act as catalysts for rural development. Considering its importance, almost 1.69 lakh kms of rural roads have been built in 4 years. Average speed of road construction improved from 69 km per day in 2013-14 to 134 km per day in 2017-18. Presently, rural road connectivity is more than 82%, as against 56% in 2014, making villages become a part of India’s development trajectory.

Tourism has immense potential for employment generation. To enhance pilgrimage experience along with a boost to the tourism sector, Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana was launched. It seeks to make journey safer, faster and more convenient. It entails development of around 900 km of national highways at an approximate cost of Rs 12,000 crore.

With boost to the infrastructure, more movement of freight takes place and adds strength to the economy. Due to efforts of the NDA government, highest ever freight loading (1,160 MT) was recorded in the year 2017-18.

Urban transformation

For urban transformation through Smart Cities, around 100 urban centres have been chosen to ensure improved quality of living, sustained urban planning and development. Various development projects in these cities will positively impact almost 10 crore Indians. These projects will cost Rs. 2,01,979 crores.

Around 1 crore affordable houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in both rural and urban areas. To benefit the middle and neo middle classes, housing loans up to Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh are eligible for interest subvention of 4% and 3%.

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The World Sees a New India
September 06, 2018
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India is a nation of a billion aspirations. With a robust economy, assertive nation-first diplomacy, brave defence forces and a growing soft power, India is being seen by the world with a renewed hope.

It is proving its prowess on the economic front, with managing to remain world’s fastest growing large company. The growth reforms undertaken by the government has strengthened India’s fiscal health. Today, India acquires the distinction of one of the most attractive investment destinations. The GDP growth (in current prices) has increased by 31 per cent between 2013 and 2017, surpassing the increase in Global GDP which stands at 4 per cent.

India’s increasing economic clout is supplemented with improvement in her relations with other nations. It is the result of the government’s diplomatic endeavours that, for the first time, India has secured membership of not one, not two, but three elite groups that include the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and the Australia Group (AG). India’s entry into these exclusive non-proliferations groupings would ease the process of acquiring high tech items for our defence and space programmes.

In another first, India has successfully secured representation on the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas (ITLOS), a body for resolution of international maritime disputes. It comes at a time when many nations are looking towards India to provide a strong leadership to help thwart attempts of anyone trying to lay unwarranted claim on the seas.

The decisiveness shown by the government in areas of national security has firmed up the belief that India’s defence forces are fully capable of answering the enemy in its own language. The precision with which terror targets were taken down on the other side of the border during surgical strikes, demonstrated India’s exemplary military power. The government fully backs nation’s defence forces. It has ensured that the long pending demands of the army including that of ‘one rank, one pension’ are duly fulfilled.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi modernisation of the Armed forces has been fast-tracked and critical defence deficiencies in weapons and infrastructure are being met through fast processing of defence procurement agreements.

On the soft power front, India is walking on the path of “VasudhaivaKutumbakam” i.e. world isa family. Our outlook to problems concerning the entire world emanates from our belief in harmony and collective participation. One the most pertinent concerns facing the world is the threat of climate change bound to impact the whole of humanity. Other than India taking up a leading role at COP21 in Paris, she has also spearheaded the International Solar Alliance. The unique alliance brings together more than 100 sunshine rich nations to harness the solar power and fulfil future energy needs without harming the planet.

In another instance, of India’s soft power showing the way towards a better planet, Yoga has come to the centre stage of global recognition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said:

“When we talk of global peace, there should be peace among nations. That is possible only when there is peace within the society. Only peaceful families can constitute peaceful society. Only peaceful individuals can make peaceful families. Yoga is the way to create such a harmony and peace within individuals, family, society, nation and ultimately all over the world.”

The ancient practice has once again caught world’s attention when 21st June was declared as International Yoga Day. The resolution proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the U.N. was backed by 173 nations, an unprecedented level of support in the history of U.N. It has also been inscribed in the list of the intangible cultural heritage of Humanity in the UNESCO. World over, people are making Yoga a daily practice for its innumerable health and spiritual benefits. With a consistent institutional support, Yoga has gone global.

Another emerging area, where India is firmly creating a technological niche, is its space programme. With a team of world-class scientists and engineers, it has become a pioneer in space industry. ISRO has set a world record by successfully launching 104 satellites in a single flight, out of which 101 co-passenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from USA, Netherlands, Switzerland, Israel, Kazakhstan and UAE. India’s indigenous global navigation system has been set in place with the successful launch of IRNSS-1G. With this, India has joined the elite list of countries with their own satellite navigation system.

The great strides made by Indians in various fields is helping build a better future for all. With advancements in science, technology, economic growth and development paradigm, we are not only solving the problems at home but creating stories of success that can be replicated in the other parts of the world for the welfare of humanity.