The infrastructure sector is one of the biggest focus areas for the Government of India. The government plans to invest Rs. 1,00,000 crores in infrastructure projects by FY 24–25. The Government has suggested investment of Rs. 5,000,000 crores for railways infrastructure from 2018-30.
Talking in physical and limited terms, i.e., about roads, railways, airways, and waterways only, enabling connectivity with the outside world, facilitating trade etc. infrastructure is crucial to the development of any economy. Furthermore, advanced infrastructure facilities are essential for the creation of complex global supply chains.
In economics terms, infrastructure has a high multiplier effect. The Reserve Bank of India and the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy estimate the multiplier to be between 2.5 and 3.5. This means that for every rupee spent by the government on infrastructure projects, GDP will increase by Rs. 2.5 to Rs. 3.5. So, the investment of Rs. 1,00,000 crores in infrastructure projects by FY 24–25 means to pump Rs. 2.5 to 3.5 lakh crores in the GDP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instituted PM Gati Shakti – National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity. The PM Gati Shakti Programme also has the inbuilt philosophy of Atma-Nirbhar Bharat. The recent development in the Atma-Nirbhar Bharat is the hundred percent made in India semi-high speed regional train, which was recently inducted and is running along Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit System) line. This was designed at Alstom’s factory in Hyderabad & manufactured at Savli, Gujarat. It is Designed in India, Made in India, Made for India.
The PM Gati Shakti is a mega Master Plan, which can’t be elaborated fully even in a few thousand pages. From the immediate projects point of view, the PM Gati Shakti is focussing on fixing major infrastructure and connectivity targets for India by 2024–25. The plan will prioritise the construction of a 2,00,000 km national highway network, including 5,590 km of national highways consisting of 4–6 lanes along the coastal areas; manufacture of trains capable of transporting 1,600 million tonnes of freight; creation of a 35,000 km gas pipeline network by developing a 17,000 km trunk pipeline to connect the industry’s major demand and supply centres; development of 220 airports, airstrips, and aerodromes, including the construction of 109 related facilities; and construction of a 25,000-acre industrial zone with 11 industrial corridors.
The Railway Component
Trains are a more efficient means of transport. Furthermore, railway transit also helps in reducing traffic congestion. India is projected to account for 40% of the total global share of rail activity by 2050.
In FY 21, the Indian railways had the highest planned capital expenditure of Rs. 215,058 crores. In Budget 2022–23, the Railway Ministry was allocated Rs. 140,367 crores, a 16.9% growth over the previous year.
In the same breath, India will manufacture 400 new Vande Bharat trains by 2025.
Rail infrastructure will see an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore by 2030.
Indian Railways has logged the highest ever electrification of sections covering 6,015 Route Kilometre (RKM) in a single year during 2020-21. More than 5 times electrification was achieved during (2014-21) last seven years as compared to during 2007-14. By 2024, Indian railways will be run completely on electricity.
Indian Railway is undergoing top to bottom modernisation, including the introduction of high speed and semi high-speed train corridors. This is a multi-pronged strategy. The high-speed trains will run with a speed of 300 kmph and semi high speed trains with a speed of 160 kmph – 200 kmph. The existing trains will run with increased speeds with introduction of faster trains and faster train sets.
Amongst the High-Speed Train Corridors, a high-speed train (300 kmph+) has already been sanctioned on Mumbai – Ahmedabad high speed corridor. In addition to this corridor, five more corridors covering sides of diamond quadrilaterals and semi diagonals in the country are being explored.
Following are the names of the High-Speed Corridors.
Delhi – Mumbai
Delhi – Kolkata
Delhi – Nagpur
Mumbai – Nagpur
As far as the Semi High Speed Train Corridors are concerned, the Gatimaan Express between Hazrat Nizamuddin to Agra Cantt is already running. Besides it, the Indian Railway has identified eight more semi high-speed train corridors.
Nagpur – Secunderabad
How important it is!
See the above Semi High Speed Train Corridors list. Obviously, the plan envisages the integration of public transportation for the seamless movement of goods & people to reduce the cost of transportation & the pollution around, particularly in the dense urban areas. Furthermore, the semi-high-speed train is expected to provide an alternative option to private vehicle commuters which will ultimately reduce the congestion & pollution in the concerned regions, while increasing the ease of living there.