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According to some estimates, India will need 500 new cities in the next two decades. Existing infrastructure is barely able to meet the needs of residents with significant shortfalls in the areas of power supply, water & sanitation, housing and transportation. Urban and infrastructure development are critical issues facing India and the Gujarat experience provides multiple lessons. On the back of its infrastructure, even with only 5% of population and 6% of the geographical area, Gujarat contributes to 25% of India’s exports, 17% of Indian Industrial output and 37% of the cargo handled by ports in India (up from 29% in 2000). Here are a few learnings of how it has been able to achieve leadership in areas of urban development, energy, water & transportation.

Gujarat’s % share in total shipping traffic of India

Total traffic at major and minor shipping ports (‘000 Tonnes)- Note the substantial improvement of Gujarat’s numbers

Urban Development: Cities are the hub for human development and help attract investments and improve quality of life. Urban development requires both creation of new cities as well as development of existing cities. New cities face significant regulatory, governance and infrastructure challenges. Keeping these challenges in mind, Gujarat pioneered the concept of SIR (Special Investment Regions) in the country. Gujarat passed the SIR act in 2009 to enable local governance for these regions and is now developing thirteen SIR cities in the state including the flagship Dholera project on the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).

Dholera with 2 million planned residents will be among the top fifteen cities in India and double the size of last planned city Chandigarh which is 45th  in terms of size in India.  Dholera comes with highway and metro connectivity to cities like Ahmedabad as well as high end technology access. Similarly GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tech-City) is another 986 acre greenfield development initiative at advanced stage of development which will offer one of the best options to entrepreneurs and residents.

In terms of development of existing city development, Ahmedabad is a good example. Sabarmati riverfront was transformed in line with other world-class cities like Paris, London, Singapore etc. Ahmedabad BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport System) is the only successful BRTS in India and was awarded by ITDP (USA) for showing how large cities can reduce carbon emissions with smart systems.

Energy: Gujarat pioneered the development of parallel grid system to provide quality and continuous power supply to farms, households and industry (an idea now being replicated across states). In addition, an aggressive clean power generation focus was developed in areas like solar power where Gujarat now has 2/3 of India’s solar power capacity. 

Power Supply Situation in Top Five States (2013-14)

Source: CEA

To reduce distribution losses, special police stations and community reporting was started to control power theft and state electricity board started turning profits.

The results was 24X7 three phase, high quality power across the state with distribution losses going down to 20% from 35%. The results are all the more outstanding when compared to top five power consuming states in India which suffer power upto 25% power deficit while Gujarat is power surplus.

Similarly in gas sector, Gujarat is the only state to have two LNG terminals plus a state wide gas grid of 2,400 km built with private participation.

Water: A massive water harvesting and conservation campaign was started with development of 650,000 water management structures. Community based 14,000 water committees for drinking water distribution & management, a concept which has since been awarded by UN. A state wide water grid of 1,900 km of bulk pipelines, 100,000 km of distribution pipelines with filtration plants covering 10,000 villages was setup which is now able to supply tap water to 75% of households.

Gujarat also became the only state in the country where ground water level has risen, thus assuring high quality water supply for generations to come.

Transportation: A focus on roads led to 92% paved roads in Gujarat vs a national average of 58%. Gujarat also has the highest road network density per sq km in India.  Currently, it takes around 2 days to travel from Ahmedabad  to Delhi by road. Through DMIC, Government envisages creating roads where one can travel from Ahmedabad to Delhi in just 5-6 hours by road, which is on the similar lines of highways in foreign countries like Japan, China, United States etc.

Gujarat’s marine policy is now being replicated by many other states and led to 37% of India’s sea cargo carried by Gujarat ports alone. Similarly, Gujarat has the highest number of airports in the country (fourteen including one international airport).

Gujarat also developed the largest fiber optic network in Asia which connects all government offices right up to 18,000 villages.

The result of this infrastructure and urban development is evident in the quality of life and industrial growth in the state. Gujarat also leads the country in per capita income growth and industrial output. For states with rich potential like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and may of those who will be newly formed, it is prudent to share more successful ideas especially as most infrastructure development companies come from the region. If one collaborates on bigger ideas backed by great vision the urban landscape of India can change. The people of the two states as well as the rest of the country can benefit immensely if the best ideas and successes from Gujarat in the areas of urban and infrastructure development are used as case studies across the country.

ನಿಮ್ಮ ಸಲಹೆ ಸೂಚನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಧಾನ ಮಂತ್ರಿ ನರೇಂದ್ರ ಮೋದಿಯವರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಮನ್ ಕೀ ಬಾತ್ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ.
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Modi govt's big boost for auto sector: Rs 26,000 crore PLI scheme approved; to create 7.5 lakh jobs
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India has taken another step in developing the nation’s capital according to needs and aspirations of a new India in the 75th year of India’s independence: PM
A big step towards the construction of a modern defense enclave in the capital: PM
The capital of any country is a symbol of the thinking, determination, strength and culture of that country: PM
India is the mother of democracy, the capital of India should be such, in which there are citizens, people at the center: PM
Modern infrastructure has a big role in the government’s focus on ease of living and ease of doing business:PM
When policies and intentions are clear, will power is strong and efforts honest, everything is possible: PM
Before-time Completion of the projects is a manifestation of changed approach and thinking: PM

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Defence Offices Complexes at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue in New Delhi today. He also visited the Defence Office Complex at Africa Avenue and interacted with Army, Navy, Air Force and Civilian Officers.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that in today’s inauguration of complexes, India has taken another step in developing the nation’s capital according to needs and aspirations of a new India in the 75th year of India’s independence. He lamented the fact that for a very long time the defence related work was being conducted from hutments constructed during the second World War which were made keeping in mind horse stable and barracks needs. “This new defence office complex will strengthen the efforts of making the working of our defence forces convenient and effective”, he said.

The Prime Minister said these modern offices built at KG Marg and Africa Avenue, will go a long way in effectively carrying out all the work related to the security of the nation. This is a big step towards the construction of a modern defense enclave in the capital. He appreciated the inclusion of attractive artefacts by Indian artists in the complexes as symbols of AaatmNirbhar Bharat. “The complexes reflect the modern form of diversity of our culture while preserving the vitality of Delhi and environment”, he said.

The Prime Minister remarked when we talk about the capital, it is not just a city. The capital of any country is a symbol of the thinking, determination, strength and culture of that country. India is the mother of democracy. Therefore, the capital of India should be such, in which there are citizens, people in the center.

The Prime Minister stressed the role of modern infrastructure in the government’s focus on ease of living and ease of doing business. “The ongoing construction work of Central Vista is going on with this thought only”, said the Prime Minister. Enumerating the efforts of new constructions as per the aspirations of the capital, the Prime Minister said that many constructions like residences for people’s representatives, Efforts to preserve Baba Saheb Ambedakar’s memories,, many bhawans, memorials for our martyrs are enhancing the glory of the capital today.

The Prime Minister said the work of the Defense Office Complex which was to be completed in 24 months has been completed in a record time of just 12 months. That too when all the other challenges ranging from labor were to the fore in the circumstances created by Corona. Hundreds of workers got employment in this project during the Corona period. The Prime Minister credited this to a new thinking and approach in the government’s functioning. “ When policies and intentions are clear, will power is strong and efforts honest, everything is possible”, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister said that these defence office complexes are the manifestation of changing work culture and priorities of the government. Optimal and proper use of available land with various departments of the government is one such priority, he said. Illustrating thi, the Prime Minister informed that these defence office complexes are constructed in 13 acre land parcels unlike earlier times when five times more land was used for similar complexes. The Prime Minister also highlighted that in next 25 years i.e. ‘Azadi ka Amrit Kaal’ productivity and efficiency of the government system will be supported by such efforts. Availability of a common central Secretariat, connected conference hall, easy connectivity like metro etc will help a great deal in making the capital people-friendly, the Prime Minister concluded.