"Surat Municipal Corporation’s Outer Ring Road project showcased as model project for infrastructure development"
"Union urban secretary asks principal secretaries of the various states’ urban development departments to emulate SMC’s ORR project"
"Yet another instance of Central Government praising Gujarat’s growth"
"Gujarat’s development strides in urban development create Catch 22 situation for beleaguered UPA- should they reward performance or remain bogged down by petty politics?"


In yet another vindication for Gujarat’s unique model of all round development under the vibrant leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, the Central Government has lauded the efforts by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) for its proposed Outer Ring Road (ORR) Project. In a letter to all the principal secretaries (urban development) in the various states, union urban development secretary Mr. Sudhir Krishna (IAS) has asked the state secretaries to come with models for funding infrastructure projects in their states on the lines of what the SMC has done for the ORR project.

Furthermore, the communiqué calls for, “instructions should be issues to all concerned authorities for identifying possibilities of ring roads on the Surat City Ring Road Model and getting a proper study done on various aspects of ring road development.”

What Surat has done differently

With increasing urbanisation and greater stress on the physical infrastructure of urban spaces, the need for expansion and innovation becomes extremely urgent. This is where Surat has shown the way vis-à-vis the Outer Ring Road project.

“Under the model, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) have jointly come up with the model to generate about Rs 11,960 crore from the development of proposed road over five years. This will mean that these bodies would get the entire project cost of Rs 5,796 crore. The additional revenue can be used for projects such as high-speed transit system.

To execute the project, SUDA and SMC would set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and will generate infrastructure fund by sale of FSI (floor space index) and commercial plots around the 66-km-long and 90 meter wide road.

The project envisages modern infrastructure for transport, mass rapid transport and dedicated provision of services such as water supply, sewerage, drainage and electricity.

As per the plan, 60% of the land acquired for this project would be returned to the land owners as final plot with all infrastructure in place. About 40% of the land will be acquired for development of infrastructure such as parks, playgrounds, public utilities, for sale of residential, commercial and industrial use.”

Quoted verbatim from: (‘Centre wants others to follow Surat’s self financing model for road building, Times of India, 2nd February 2013)

Surat has also made its mark as the ‘Flyover City of Gujarat’ due to the many flyovers that have been built to ease traffic from congested areas.

Gujarat’s Roads: Heralding the state on the path of progress

All those visit Gujarat from India or across the world have one common thing to say about the states- that Gujarat’s roads are of exceptional quality. In the last ten years under the inspiring guidance of Shri Narendra Modi, Gujarat has established an extensive network of roads that have made Gujarat’s development journey but only much easier but also much quicker.

Out of the total length of roads of 104564 km across Gujarat, state highways constitute 18447 kms. The percentage of state highways in Gujarat is substantially higher than bigger states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.  Be it adding urban roads or percentage of surfaced roads, Gujarat is a leader. A body no less than the World Bank has lauded the success of Gujarat’s extensive road network.

Central Government Praises Vibrant Gujarat….Yet Again!

The letter of the union urban development secretary is yet another instance of the Central Government praising the gigantic development strides made by the Gujarat Government. Just last month an official from the Central Government showered praise of Gujarat’s success in the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises. The official stated that the growth of SMEs across the nation stands at 19% whereas in Gujarat the figure stands at a mammoth 85%!

Union Minister for Renewable Energy Shri Farooq Abdullah praised Gujarat for the commendable work in the renewable energy sector. In late 2011, a senior functionary of the telecom department praised Gujarat’s IT initiatives. Furthermore, data from the Central Government reveals that Gujarat is not only the highest creator of jobs across the nation but also is that state with the lowest unemployment. Thus, be it small, medium enterprise, IT, employment or roads there Gujarat has emerged as numero uno!

Gujarat’s Success in Urban Development Puts UPA On Sticky Wicket

However, if there is one area of Gujarat’s development that is repeatedly putting the Congress-led UPA in a precarious situation, it is the strides in urban development. A few days ago, it was revealed that Gujarat was the Number 1 state in terms of the projects completed under the JNNURM. Out of the 71 sanctioned projects, Gujarat has completed 42, surpassing all other states including big Congress ruled states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In terms of fund utilization as well, Gujarat ranks among the highest.

Infact this has created a Catch 22 situation for the UPA- should it reward states that are performing or should it continue to distribute funds on the basis of population, even if the work is not completed. In case of performance, needless to say Gujarat will get a lion’s share of funds for the development of the cities but considering its State Government headed by the principal Opposition party, the UPA may fall prey to petty politics and desist from rewarding performance!

In the recent months, there have been 4 circulars on urban transport where the Centre recommended that the Gujarat model be emulated. Earlier, the department had asked the states to emulate G-Auto initiative in which auto rickshaw drivers came together under one forum under a common control room.

Similarly, if there is any example of convenient and effective urban transport, Ahmedabad’s BRTS Janmarg is cited as the reference point. Considering it has failed in Congress ruled Delhi, the Centre is left with little option but to showcase Janmarg as an innovative and effective transport system. Janmarg, it may be recalled is a part of Shri Modi’s vision to provide the people with cost effective and comfortable urban transport.

With urbanisation here to stay, it is better if we embrace and come up with innovative solutions rather than put our hands up and let the challenges of urbanisation get the better of us. This is not only about a better present but also for a better future. Shri Narendra Modi has inspired Gujarat’s cities to shine and it is high time the UPA wakes up to the same, rising above the domain of petty politicking.

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May 08, 2021

At the invitation of the President of the European Council Mr. Charles Michel, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting today.

The meeting was held in a hybrid format with the participation of leaders of all the 27 EU Member States as well as the President of the European Council and the European Commission. This is the first time that the EU hosted a meeting with India in the EU+27 format. The meeting was the initiative of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

During the meeting, the leaders expressed their desire to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on a shared commitment to democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and multilateralism. They exchanged views on three key thematic areas: i) foreign policy and security; ii) COVID-19, climate and environment; and iii) trade, connectivity and technology. They discussed forging closer cooperation on combating the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery, tackling climate change, and reforming multilateral institutions. India appreciated the prompt assistance provided by the EU and its member states to combat its second COVID wave.

The leaders welcomed the decision to resume negotiations for balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreements. Negotiations on both the Trade and Investment Agreements will be pursued on parallel tracks with an intention to achieve early conclusion of both agreements together. This is a major outcome which will enable the two sides to realise the full potential of the economic partnership. India and the EU also announced dedicated dialogues on WTO issues, regulatory cooperation, market access issues and supply chain resilience, demonstrating the desire to deepen and further diversify economic engagement.

India and the EU launched an ambitious and comprehensive ‘Connectivity Partnership’ which is focused on enhancing digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity. The Partnership is based on the shared principles of social, economic, fiscal, climate and environmental sustainability, and respect for international law and commitments. The Partnership will catalyse private and public financing for connectivity projects. It will also foster new synergies for supporting connectivity initiatives in third countries, including in the Indo-Pacific.

India and the EU leaders reiterated their commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and agreed to strengthen joint efforts for mitigation, adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change, as well as providing means of implementation including finance in the context of COP26. India welcomed the EU’s decision to join CDRI.

India and the EU also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on digital and emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, Quantum and High-Performance Computing including through the early operationalization of the Joint Task Force on AI and the Digital Investment Forum.

The leaders noted with satisfaction the growing convergences on regional and global issues, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity and maritime cooperation. The leaders acknowledged the importance of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific and agreed to closely engage in the region, including in the context of India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative and the EU’s new strategy on the Indo-Pacific.

Coinciding with the Leaders’ Meeting, an India-EU Business Roundtable was organised to highlight the avenues for cooperation in climate, digital and healthcare. A finance contract of Euro 150 million for the Pune Metro Rail Project was signed by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and European Investment Bank.

India-EU Leaders Meeting has set a significant milestone by providing a new direction to the Strategic Partnership and giving a fresh impetus for implementing the ambitious India-EU Roadmap 2025 adopted at the 15th India-EU Summit held in July 2020.