The Modi Years – Building Robust Infrastructure (Part 2)

Bharat, a multifarious and diverse nation state, requires strong futuristic infrastructure to tackle the 21st century challenges posed to its growing economy. Under-developed rail, waterways, airways and profligate energy system has caused daunting harms to the growth story of the nation. Absence of critical infrastructure to support the economy brings in footless and gnarly situations and hence makes it exceedingly significant to ensure the infrastructure development remains on the priority table.

To ensure the nation of Bharat accelerates faster in the race for becoming world power, strong and robust critical infrastructure is of paramount significance. The government under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi acknowledged the need to be industrious for building world class robust infrastructure for the nation capable of catering to its futuristic needs.

Here we will see how has the NDA government under PM Modi developed the railways, waterways, airways and energy sector of the nation.

Railways

Bharatiya Railway is one of the largest and densest railway network in world with most number of passengers boarding per kilometres. The magnitude and intricacy of the Bharatiya railway system is hardly paralleled by any other transportation network in the world.

It is the fourth largest railway network in the world in terms of size, with 67,368 Km of route running throughout the nation and the biggest employer in the country. Bharatiya railway system is the main artery of county’s surface transportation. To ensure this intricate yet magnificent system functions, its infrastructure must be robust and proficient of catering to needs of the hour.

The Government under Modi has done comparatively excellent job in ensuring greater constructions of foot overbridges, road overbridges, under bridges and subways in the past 5 years. During first four years of NDA government, 74 foot overbridges were constructed against 23 constructed by previous UPA, registering 221 percent increase in the rate and a total of 1,220 road overbridges, under bridges and subways were constructed under this government as against 415 constructed under previous UPA.

This government has also significantly ( 6x times ) improved LHB coaches production from 233 LHB coaches produced per year in 10 years of UPA regime to 1387 coaches produced per year in this regime. Under ‘Mission Electrification’ the government has electrified way more rail route than any precursory ones. Comparing one single years stats gives us 570% increase in rate of electrification in FY 2017/18 than FY 2013/14.

This government also ensured quicker track laying and track renewal works. The rate of laying new tracks under NDA government, in comparison to previous UPA government, was 11.5% faster. Railways laid 7,666 Km of tracks during 2014-17 of NDA tenure, which is 794 Km more than the UPA-2’s initial three years from 2009-12.

Under a humongous monetary initiative espousing $1 trillion of investment for redeveloping 600 stations (earlier 400) across the nation, government is eying multifold and robust infrastructural transformation in Bharatiya railways stations. The government is planning to redevelop or upgrade 600 A1 and A category stations by monetising 2,700 acres of land under Rs. 10,70,000 crore investment strategy.

Waterways

Inland waterways is the most underdeveloped part of nation’s transportation system. In spite of its immense potential, the inland waterways remained in the cool bag of projects for decades in the past. The total navigable length of inland water traffic in Bharat is 14,500 km out of which 5,200 km is on rivers. Freight transport through waterways is highly underutilised with only 0.1% of the total cargo moved by waterways, compared to 21% figure of the United States it looks minuscule.

Inland waterways significantly reduce the transportation costs and boost the economy apart from reducing carbon footprint. Modi led government has shown intentions and efforts to turn the tide in this sector and bring about robust transformation. 106 national waterways were added in the last 4 years compared to 5 national waterways in the last 30 years.

Bharat is also taking rapid strides in the shipping sector under PM Narendra Modi’s government. Accelerating port-led development, the turnaround 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.

Airways

Bharat is the fastest growing aviation market in the entire world and is poised to become largest aviation market of the world. Currently the nations aviation sector is third largest in the world with an air traffic of 131 million in 2016. The market is also estimated to have 800 aircrafts by 2020. In 2015, Boeing projected Bharat’s demand for aircraft to touch 1,740 or 4.3% of global volume, valued at $240 billion, over the next 20 years in Bharat.

Spearheading this transformation and growth story is the government’s UDAAN scheme contrived to the enhance nation’s existing air infrastructure and build new ones. The government aims to make air travel affordable for every commoner of the nation through the programme.

“Promising affordable air travel under UDAN, 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 subsidized fare of Rs 2,500 per hour has helped to fulfill dream of many Bharatiya to travel by air. Thus, for the first time more people travelled in airplanes than in AC trains.

This government has drastically transformed the aviation sector making it pro-poor. Opening up new airports in the places unthought of in the past has reserved this government’s seat in the league of its own. Aviation of Bharat is flying high up in the sky.

Energy Sector

Growth in energy sector is perhaps the most prodigious and prudent ever in the nation’s history. No other government even thought of the initiatives, taken by this government. Government under Modi has drastically transformed the way Bharat used to approach towards energy.

Self reliance in energy sector with exceeding and efficient utilization of renewable resources such as solar power has branded this government as the leader of the world in fighting climate change. From power short nation to power exporting nation, the futuristic ambitious projects were given all wings under this government.

Perhaps the most eloquent initiative under the umbrella of energy reforms must be Bharat and France jointly forming the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in 2015. ISA has proven to be a grand success with 121 countries joining the group and portraying Bharat as a world leader in the fight against climate change.

Many domestic reforms were also carried out. More than 30 crore LED bulbs were distributed under UJALA resulting in saving of Rs.15,500 crore per year. Energy efficiency measures through PAT in large industries saved energy worth Rs.9,500 crore. Star labelling program saved energy worth Rs. 22,500 crore. Impact analysis has been carried out in 6,751 villages in 15 States. It has been reported that 27,771 new shops have been opened apart from 2,777 flour mills in these villages. Villagers are using 2.2 lakh Television sets and 53,197 refrigerators.

“We have added hereby 1 lakh MW to the generation capacity in 4 years at the rate of about 25000 MW per year whereas the rate of capacity addition in the previous years was only about 4500 MW per year. We added 1 lakh ckm to the transmission grid and doubled the renewable energy capacity to 69.7 GW besides achieving to the 100% village electrification ahead of schedule. We promised to light 18500 villages in 1000 days and redeemed our promise in 987 days. Bharat has emerged as net exporter of electricity.” wrote MoS (Independent) Raj Kumar Singh in a blog.

This government under the NDA understood that prodigious problems requires strenuous efforts. There was need for defenestration of inefficient chore adopted by the miscreants and lackadaisical precursory regimes. Travelling through rail, air or water, in some part of the country in the past, was often associated with haplessness and severe adversaries. This government took note of the problem and has done laborious work in the direction of improving basic critical infrastructure. Efficacy of the government is pellucid by the transformation in the sector in the past 5 years.


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About the Author

Yogendra Thakur
A student and two time state topper in Astrophysics and Art of Lecturing. Primary focus areas are Indology and Economics.