Indian Economy- Infrastructure- UPSC/ HCS/ RAS/ UPPSC
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Indian Economy- Infrastructure- UPSC/ HCS/ RAS/ UPPSC
Infrastructure is a very crucial aspect of an economy. It is because of this infrastructure, that any country can beat another country. Usually, after listening to this topic, we tend to think that we know the means of roadways or means of waterways. But covering it for exams like UPSC/HCS/ RAS/ UPPSC, we will be talking about different projects covered under these different means of infrastructure.
So let us begin with the topic of infrastructure.
Infrastructure refers to such core elements of economic and social change which serve as a support system to production activity in the economy. It includes elements:
- Energy sector
National Highways Authority of India:
- It is an autonomous agency of the Government of India set up by the NHAI Act, 1988.
- It is responsible for the development, maintenance, and management of national highways and matters connected to them.
NHAI is mandated to implement National Highways Development Project which is India’s largest-ever Highways Project in a phased manner.
Infrastructure Investment Trust (INVIT):
- InvITs are investment schemes similar to mutual funds that allow investment from individuals and institutional investors in infrastructure projects to earn a portion of the income as a return.
Under InvIT, highway projects will be bundled to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to be offered to investors. The SPV would then be traded on the stock exchanges and returns will be linked to the InvIT’s performance in the capital market.
- NHAI’s InvIT will be a trust established under the Indian Trust Act, 1882 and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.
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Hybrid Annuity Model for National Highways:
HAM is a hybrid - a mix of EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) and BOT (build, operate, transfer) Annuity models.
- The objective is to maximize the quantum of implemented projects within the available financial resources of the government and to revive private sector participation in the sector.
- Toll fee collection from the highway projects developed under the hybrid annuity model is the responsibility of the Government/ Authority.
Col Chewang Rinchen Setu:
- It is India’s highest altitude all-weather permanent bridge in eastern Ladakh.
The 1400 ft long bridge on Shyok river situated at 14,650 ft.
- The bridge’s superstructure is called ‘Extra Wide Bailey Bridge’.
- It is built by Border Roads Organisation.
- The micro piling technique was used for the first time for building this.
Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019:
- It provides compensation for road accident victims during golden hour.
Constitution of a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
- Sets up a National Road Safety Board that will advise the government on road design and motor vehicle safety.
- It defines good samaritans and provides for the recall of vehicles.
Restructuring of Railways:
Reforms were undertaken for organizational restructuring of the Indian Railways which included:
- Unification of the existing 8 Group A services of the Railways into a Central Service called Indian Railway Management Service IRMS).
Reorganization of Railway Board on functional lines headed by Chairman of Railway Board with 4 Members and some independent Members.
- Railway Board is the apex decision-making body of Indian Railways which reports to the Parliament via the ministry of railways.
- It is organized into various departments like mechanical, electrical, traffic and finance that are vertically separated from the top to bottom.
- A member of the board, usually a secretary rank officer heads each department.
- The existing service of the Indian Railway Medical Service (IRMS) to be consequently renamed as Indian Railway Health Service (IRHS).
- The unification of services had earlier been mooted by various committees for reforming Railways including the Prakash Tandon Committee (1994), Rakesh Mohan Committee (2001), Sam Pitroda Committee (2012), and Bibek Debroy Committee (2015).
Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC):
- DFC is a high-speed and high-capacity railway corridor dedicated exclusively for freight (goods and commodity) movement.
- The project was first proposed in April 2005 to address the needs of the rapidly developing Indian economy.
- This project involves constructing 6 freight corridors across the country.
6 freight corridors across the country are:
Eastern Freight Corridor (Ludhiana to Dankuni)
- Western Freight Corridor (Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port)
- East-West Corridor (Kolkata-Mumbai)
- North-South Corridor (Delhi-Chennai)
- East Coast Corridor (Kharagpur-Vijayawada)
- Southern Corridor (Chennai-Goa)
Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL):
- It is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways to undertake planning & development, mobilization of financial resources, and construction, maintenance, and operation of the DFCs.
- It has been set up with 100% equity by the Ministry of Railways and registered as a company under the Companies Act 1956.
Private Sector in Railways:
- Wagon Investment Scheme/ Own Your Wagon Scheme (1992) tapped private sector participation for augmenting wagon supply in Indian Railways. The private sector could procure wagons from approved builders, own them and lease them to Indian Railways.
Container Policy Liberalization Scheme in 2006 allowed private players to run container trains on the Indian Railways network.
- Special Freight Train Operator Scheme in 2010 to provide an opportunity to logistic service providers to invest in specialized wagons.
Indian Railways entered into Procurement cum Maintenance Agreement with Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd., a joint venture of Indian Railways and M/s Alstom (France) to manufacture 800 electric locomotives for freight service and its associated maintenance.
Current status of FDI in Indian Railways:
- 100% FDI is allowed under automatic route in most areas of railway like high-speed trains, railway electrification, passenger terminal, mass rapid transport systems, railway infrastructure, etc.
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- These are India’s first two private trains which will run on the following routes: Lucknow-Delhi-Lucknow corridor and Ahmedabad-Mumbai corridor.
- IRCTC has been given the task of operating two premium trains as a private entity.
Amitabh Kant Panel:
- Ministry of Railways constituted Amitabh Kant Patel to oversee the entry of private operators for 150 trains and the development of 50 railway stations as per global standards.
- Other members of the panel are Railway board Chairman, Economic Affairs secretary, Housing and urban affairs secretary, and Railways financial commissioner.
- India has 12 major and 205 notified minor and intermediate ports. Only two major ports, namely Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (1989) and Ennore (Kamarajar) Port (1999) and 9 minor ports by state governments have been developed in the last 30 years.
A Special Purpose Vehicle formed with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust as a lead partner will develop the port infrastructure. All business activities would be undertaken under the Public-Private Partnership model.
- Jawaharlal Nehru Port is the biggest container port in India and the 28th largest in the world.
- The first Multi-Modal Terminal was built in Varanasi and the second in Sahibganj, Jharkhand.
- Multimodal transport is the movement of goods from point A to point B using different modes of transport by a single transport operator.
The Multimodal Transport Act was passed in 1993 to establish a standard regime for multimodal transport operators.
Loktak Inland Waterways Project in Manipur:
- The project will develop the Inland water transport connectivity in the North-East States and give a boost to the tourism sector also.
Port Management Models:
Service Port model: The port authority owns the land and all available assets - fixed and mobile and performs all regulatory and port functions. Here, the port trust is both the landlord and the cargo terminal operator.
Landlord port model: The publicly governed port authority acts as a regulatory body and as a landlord while private companies carry out port operations, mainly cargo-handling activities. Ex., Kamarajar Port
Currently, most major port trusts in India carry out terminal operations as well resulting in a hybrid model of port governance.
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