Union Minister Nitin Gadkari wrote in an article for The Economic Times,
“The most tangible evidence of a nation’s progress is its infrastructure and that’s essentially what India lacked, which eventually hampered our growth rate and made us uncompetitive in terms of logistics cost.”
The arc of human development, progresses when roads are paved and rivers are bridged. Across the world, the governments would agree that infrastructure sector plays a key part in boosting economy. India’s infrastructure sector has witnessed an overhaul in the recent years including highly strategic connectivity projects, road construction, development of highways, expressways and corridors.
PM Modi had rightly said on one occasion,
“To take India to newer heights, the role of infrastructure, railways and roads is very important.”
For a long time, India has been coping with logistics cost as high as 14% which makes exports uncompetitive when compared with China which enjoys logistic costs which add up to just 8-10%. The Centre in its bid to make the economy competitive had been trying to leverage roads, railways and waterways to bring India’s logistics costs down to 8%.
As the current NDA government complete its four years, The True Picture takes a deeper look at some of the major infrastructure achievements of the government and its impact.
ROADS & HIGHWAYS
The government has been evidently ambitious when it increased the road construction target from 27km achieved per day in 2017-18 to 45km per day for the current financial year. The targets and achievements have seen an exponential increase in recent years:
- The expenditure on road construction rose from Rs. 32,483 crores in 2013-14 to Rs.1,16,324 crore in 2017-18.
- Total length of roads, including those under PMGSY, built from 2014-15 till the current year is about 1,69,000 km.
- National Highway Network expanded from 92851 km in 2013-14 to 1,20,543 km in 2017-18
- 2,000 kms of coastal connectivity roads identified for construction and development
This ambitious 5.35 lakh crore project include the development of highways running through economic corridors, border and coastal areas and expressways. The Cabinet approved the scheme in 2017 and has set the deadline for this project as 2022. The project aims to connect 24,800 km in Phase I during 2017-18 to 2021-22. This includes:
- 5000 kms of the National Corridors
- 9000 kms of Economic Corridors
- 6000 km of Feeder Corridors and lnter-Corridors
- 2000 kms of Border Roads
- 2000 kms of Coastal Roads and Port Connectivity Roads
- 800 kms of Green-field Expressways
PM Narendra Modi launched the Setu Bharatam on 4th March 2016 with an aim to make all national highways free of railway crossings. The government aims to improve 1500 old and worn-down bridges by replacing/widening or strengthening it. Construction of 208 Railway over bridges/ under bridges at Level Crossings is envisaged with a budget of 2800 crore rupees.
Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna
Envisaged for easy access to pilgrimage places, the project aims to improve connectivity to Char Dhams, namely, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedranath and Badrinath, situated in the state of Uttrakhand. It entails development of 900 km of national highways at an approximate cost of Rs 12,000 crore.
A whole network of expressways aimed at reducing commute time, controlling pollution and connecting remote areas, is either completed, under construction or in a pre-construction mode.
- Peripheral Expressways – The project consists of Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) and Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE). These begin from NH-1 (near Kundli) and terminate at NH-2 (near Palwal). These expressways are constructed with the aim to decongest Delhi and reduce pollution levels in the NCR. EPE and WPE are constructed by NHAI and the State of Haryana respectively.
Eastern Peripheral Expressway was recently inaugurated by PM Modi on 27th May 2018. As per a media report, the expressway took 50,000 polluting trucks away from Delhi. The expressway diverted one-third of the 1.5 lakh heavy vehicles that enter Delhi from the east on day one.
- Delhi-Meerut Expressway – First phase of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway was inaugurated by PM Modi on 27th May 2018. The expressway as a whole is part of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway. PM Modi inaugurated a 9 kilometre stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway which was built in 18 months as opposed to a target of 30 months. Once fully completed the distance between Meerut and Delhi will be reduced to just 45 minutes.
- Bangalore-Chennai Expressway – The Bangalore Chennai Expressway is a proposed between the cities of Bangalore and Chennai. Currently, there are two roads connecting Bangalore-Chennai, one is via Hoskote (Bangalore)-AP then to Chennai & second is via Electronic City (Bangalore) Hosur (Tamil Nadu) and then to Chennai. The proposed expressway is passes between these two stretches.
- Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway – The 473 km expressway will link Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway to Mumbai-Pune Expressway thus providing Expressway connectivity from Ahmedabad to Pune for a length of about 650 Km.
- Chenani- Nashri Tunnel – The all-weather 9km tunnel running between Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu & Kashmir is the best example of the government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiative. It is not only India’s longest highway tunnel but is also Asia’s longest bi-directional highway tunnel.
- Dhola Sadiya Bridge – It is India’s 9.15 km longest bridge and was inaugurated by PM Modi on 26th May 2017. The bridge ensures 24*7 connectivity between upper Assam and Eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
The yojana was launched back in December 2000 by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, with the objective to provide all-weather road connectivity to all rural villages. The current administration prioritized the scheme and improved on it at a tremendous pace.
Back in 2011-12, the rate of road construction under PMGSY was 85 km/day, which dropped to 66 km/day in 2012-13. In fact, the average rate of construction during the period 2011 to 2014 was a mere 73 km/day.
Today, the rate of construction reached 134 km/day. This is more than double the construction rate in 2012-13.
The above graph clearly shows that there has been an increase every year and no dip in the length completed after 2014. The target date for completion of PMGSY-I has been preponed from 2022 to 2019, to provide connectivity to all eligible habitations by March 2019.
The Indian rail network is one of the largest railway system in the world. Its network is spread across the entire nation covering 115,000 km, with 12,617 passenger trains and 7,421 freight trains from 7,349 stations. The NDA government has spent their four years developing long-term infrastructure for railways. The massive amount of work that has undergone to build better infrastructure is worth noting. The government has laid second, third, and fourth lines on busy routes to enhance network capacity, broad-gauge conversion are prioritised for bringing in Northeast connectivity.
Indian Railway lays new line every year. The progress of last four years is represented graphically below:
Railway Route Electrification
Indian Railways has come a long way since independence. Pre-independence only 388 RKMs were electrified. During the past four years the pace of railways electrification has gained momentum. Status of year-wise electrification of RKMs is represented graphically below:
For the first time Northeast India is integrated with the rest of India with the entire network converted to Broad Gauge. Rail connectivity established with states of Meghalaya (Dudhnoi-Mendipathar), Tripura (Kumarghat-Agartala) and Mizoram (Kathakal-Bhairabi). Train connectivity has also been established between Itanagar and Silchar to Delhi.
Multitudes of new trains had been launched in last four years.
- India’s First Tejas Express between Mumbai and Karmali
- New Cross-Border Train between India & Bangladesh, “Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express”
- Introduced First AC EMU consisting of 12-car on Mumbai Suburban Section
- Introduced Third Mahamana Express to run between Varanasi and Vadodara
- Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project commissioned – First Ever Bullet Train in India
- More than 700 Deen Dayalu coaches were produced equipped with modern safety features and amenities.
- 13 Long distance unreserved Antyodaya LHB trains with general second-class coaches introduced
- 19 Humsafar trains with additional amenities in the coaches introduced
- Commissioning of Western and Eastern DFCs in phases by 2019-20. This will lead to reduction in freight travel time, transportation cost and de-congestion in existing network. This will also foster development and job creation by connecting factories and farms to ports.
- 2017-18 recorded highest ever freight loading – 1,160 Million Tonnes
- Freight earnings were estimated to be Rs. 1.17 Lakh Cr in 2017-18. This is 13% more than last year.
The last three years has witnessed the civil aviation industry in India emerge as one of the fastest growing industries in the country. India has emerged as the world’s third largest aviation market. Over the past three years India has tabulated an increase of 18%-20% in passenger traffic.
Domestic air passengers crossed 100 million mark for the first time in 2017.
The Civil Aviation industry has ushered in a new era of expansion and as per Mr Jayant Sinha, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, In next 10 to 15 years, India is expected to become the world’s largest domestic civil aviation market.
National Civil Aviation Policy-2016
It was first time after the Independence that a comprehensive Civil Aviation Policy was introduced by the Ministry. The policy aimed at make flying affordable and convenient for the masses. The objectives included generating an integrated ecosystem to promote tourism, generate employment and regional growth, establish and enhance regional connectivity through infrastructural development and fiscal support. It was further aimed at improving ease of doing business through deregulation, simplified procedures and e-governance.
UDAN (Udey Desh ka Aam Nagrik)
UDAN-RCS, UDAN is a regional airport development and “Regional Connectivity Scheme” (RCS) of GoI, aimed at making air travel affordable and widespread, to boost inclusive national economic development, job growth and air transport infrastructure development of all regions and states of India.
- Regional Connectivity Scheme aims to make air travel to India’s Tier-II and Tier-III cities affordable for the common man.
- UDAN provides regional air connectivity to unserved and underserved airports at a subsidized fare of Rs. 2,500 per hour.
- First UDAN flight was launched by PM on Shimla-Delhi sector.
- Arunachal Pradesh made it to the commercial aviation map of the country with the first commercial aircraft in Pasighat on May 21, 2018
- Sikkim received its first airport and built at 4500 feet above sea level is considered an engineering marvel.
Under the New Greenfield Airport Policy several airports were constructed across the country
- Noida International Airport (Jewar)
- Mopa (Goa)
- Purandar Airport (Pune)
- Bhogapuram Airport (Visakhapatnam)
- Dholera Airport (Ahmedabad)
- Hirasar Airport (Rajkot)
As per the Ministry of Shipping, almost 95% of India’s trading by volume and 70% by value is done through maritime transport. Between April 2017-February 2018, India’s major ports have registered a 4.97% increase in the cargo handled. India is the sixteenth largest maritime country in the world. The government of India has allowed a 100% FDI under the automatic route for port development projects.
It consists of over 500 projects with infrastructure investment of more than Rs. 8 Lac Crore. Out of these 289 projects worth Rs. 2.17 lakh crore are already under development or implementation. Sagarmala project aims to increase the coastal shipping from 80 MTPA to 200+ MTPA by 2025.
GoI has increased its focus on improvement of efficiency and productivity in major ports. As a result of it average turn-around time improved from 73hours to 65 hours. The operating surplus of Major Ports has increased by 11% as compared to corresponding period of last year. Six new ports to be developed in the country:
- Vadhavan (Maharashtra)
- Enayam (Tamil Nadu)
- Tajpur (West Bengal)
- Paradip Outer Harbour (Odisha)
- Sirkazhi (Tamil Nadu)
- Belekeri (Karnataka)
MAKING BETTER CITIES
Smart City Mission
An urban renewal programme aims to develop 100 cities across the nation and make them citizen friendly and sustainable. Launched on 25th June 2015, the mission has so far identified 99 cities through various competitions and programs. The total cost of the program stands at a whooping sum of Rs. 201979 crores and it impacts a total population of 9.9 crores.
The mission was launched on 21st February 2016, with the aim to create 300 such Rurban growth clusters over the next 3 years, across the country which will be ODF, green, agro based and thematic clusters based on skilled manpower and access to economic opportunities.
The mission has identified 267 clusters so far. 153 Integrated Cluster Action Plans, which act as the blue print of investment for each cluster, has been approved for 29 States and one UT of Dadar and Nagar Haveli.
As per Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, under the current administration, India’s infrastructure expenditure has witnessed an increase of 134% when compared with the previous administration. The last four years have seen a rise in economic corridors and highways; seaports and airports; when put together they all contribute uniformly towards a rapid and faster connectivity and upward economic growth. This all translates to the effort that the Modi government has put in to build a better and new India.