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Gist of Yojana and Kurukshetra – February 2019

Power Sector in India

India has electrified all its villages. Data showed that all of India six lakh census villages have now been electrified. Electrified means the village is connected to power grid.

Issues that have plagued the sector: Present & Future

  • Poorly designed and implemented schemes
  • Install electrical connections to about 30 million homes
  • Government-owned distribution companies “remain the weakest link”
  • Grid reliability challenges are more severe in dispersed rural areas than in cities
  • Most power distribution companies (discoms) continue to struggle with their financial turnaround plans

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The Way Ahead:

  • Push the state-run distribution companies to carry out robust ground surveys and organize frequent camps to achieve the target
  • Improvement in the operational efficiency of distributors
  • Decentralized renewable energy solutions
  • Village-level entrepreneurs could be contracted to operate and maintain the local distribution
  • Improve compliance on payments
  • Recruiting and training local youth
  • Pre-paid and smart metering systems


Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. In 2018, India ranked 44th out of 167 countries in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) 2018.

  • Land acquisition remains a significant challenge for infrastructure creation
  • Co-operation within infrastructure segments is crucial
  • Policies for the sector
  • Regulations in the sector
  • Overhaul India’s infrastructure sector

So, what is happening?

  • The road and sea transport networks are being developed for providing better, seamless and more efficient access
  • Ring roads, expressways and bypasses are being constructed
  • Innovative solutions like seaplanes, ropeways, aeroboats and double-decker buses are being actively explored for adoption
  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with Austrian ropeway company Doppelmayr for building ropeways

To bolster remote north east:

  • The Government has launched a new airport at Hollongi in Arunachal Pradesh
  • Inauguration of India’s longest bridge, the 9.15 km Bhupen Hazarika road link over the Lohit river
  • An airport has been commissioned at Pasighat, barely two hours away from Dibrugarh.
  • The doubling of Indian Railways’ line from New Bongaigaon-Guwahati via Rangiya in Assam is likely to get approved soon.
  • Other infrastructure projects include efforts to turn Guwahati’s Pakyong airport into an aviation hub
  • Infrastructure construction is a key element in New Delhi’s “Act-East Policy,”

To reduce pollution:

  • Promotion of alternative fuels
  • The concept of ‘waste to wealth’ is being employed
  • Ministries concerned are working to promote generation of alternative fuels
  • Priority is being given to the greening of roads

To create employment opportunities:

  • The youth are being trained to take advantage of the emerging job opportunities
  • training is being provided in job opportunities
  • the total number of seafarers employed in Indian and foreign ships has grown by 35% this year

To manage water resources & clean Ganga: Implementation of over 260 projects

Where do India’s water policies go wrong?

  • little space for environmental policy
  • few incentives to take on the big polluters
  • system of rent-seeking
  • The system is currently extraordinarily top-heavy

Way ahead:

  • shared responsibility between the state and the people
  • publicly available data
  • education and awareness
  • comprehensive look

To prevent the colossal loss of lives in road accidents:

  • India needs a two-pronged approach to road safety
  • Improving the behaviour of all road users
  • Reducing the number of vehicle kilometres travelledSimple improvements, like bright lights at junctions, speed cameras, a police presence, mandatory seat belts and making helmets compulsory

Bharatmala Pariyojana & Sagarmala

The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect development. It aims to develop access to new development regions. The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely:

  • Supporting and enabling Port-led Development
  • Port Infrastructure Enhancement
  • Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland

Inland Water Transport

India has nearly 14,500 km of navigable waterways. The cost of transporting one tonne freight over 1 km by waterway is Rs. 1.19 compared with Rs. 2.28 and Rs. 1.41 by road and rail, respectively. Recent moves by the government:

  • The government has proposed to allocate 2.5 per cent of the funds collected for development of waterways.
  • The budget for next fiscal has allocated Rs. 228 crore to the sector

The advantages of raising the share of waterways:

  • A litre of fuel can move 105 tonne-km by inland water transport, against 85 tonne-km by rail and 24 tonne-km by road.
  • the carbon emission per tonne km is 32-36 gms
  • Reduced congestion on roads and fewer accidents

Challenge: The sector’s investment requirements are ₹ Rs. 90,000 crore

Way ahead:

  • Development of physical infrastructure
  • Policy level interventions
  • Resolving the protocol route issue with Bangladesh

Incentivizing cargo transport through inland waterways is required.

  • Offering incentives
  • The Government can mandate/incentivise industries
  • Higher road taxes can be levied on transportation of coal and inflammable material over longer distances
  • the government can promote industrial corridors along riverbanks
  • Capital dredging
  • the government needs to offer financial support to ferry operators
  • The Centre and States need to join hands to package and market river tourism

Inland Waterways Authority of India

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence on 27th October 1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation. India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc. About 55 million tonnes of cargo is being moved annually by Inland Water Transport (IWT).

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How to reinvent public transport?

India has about 18% of the world’s population and only 2.5% of its land area, but accommodates a fleet of 210 million motor vehicles as of now.

  • Innovative, multi-modal integration is vital to drive a change.
  • Cities need to increase the number of public transport
  • Widen the definition of public transport to include small buses, vans and pooled vehicles that offer on-demand services.
  • Lead transport authorities could be set up to coordinate planning and financing


Indian cities will make up most of the fastest-growing cities in the world between 2019 and 2035.

What is Urbanisation?

The Census of India, 2011 defines urban settlement as, all the places which have municipality, corporation and cantonment board or notified town area committee.

Urbanisation: A transformative force

By 2030, 600 million Indians, or 40 per cent of the country’s population, would be residing in urban areas.

Key facts:

  • Over 34% of India’s current population lives in urban areas
  • Population of fringe urban areas (smaller clusters with 10-50 lakh population) have increased

India is witnessing some strange trends:

  • Villagers across the nation are protesting against their inclusion in the nearby city’s urban area
  • Pollution in India’s urban areas seems to have sparked off a reverse migration

Status of Urban Cities in India:

  • downtrodden, driven with poverty and poor infrastructure
  • Poor urban planning.
  • rising demands for basic services
  • shortage of over 10 million affordable houses

Big Concerns:

  • Flawed definition
  • Poor infrastructure and investment
  • No effective policies to deal with Urban Migration
  • Poor and unplanned transition

Sustainable Urban Planning

The central government has launched new urban missions and that has marked paradigm shift to country’s approach to urban development.

Missions at the forefront of the urban transformation

  1. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Clean India Mission
  2. The PM Awas Yojana (PMAY) or Housing for All
  3. The Smart Cities Mission
  4. AMRUT scheme

India’s cities need to address five systemic challenges:

  • Lack of viable spatial planning
  • Weak finances
  • Poor human resource management
  • Powerless mayors and city councils
  • Total absence of systematic citizen participation and transparency

The Way Ahead

  • Cities and their Foundation
  • Cities and Reforms
  • City people and City government
  • City and local body of governance
  • Absence of participatory citizen platforms

Affordable Housing

There has been no significant departure from the huge demand-supply gap existing in the country. India holds a huge demand for housing, which has kept on increasing substantially with the demand-supply gap.

Some of the measures that can help India create ‘Housing-for-all’ are

  • Supply
  • Availability of Land
  • Finance
  • Infrastructure


  1. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Urban (PMAY-U)
  2. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G)


Public safety and security

  1. Tele-Surveillance/Connectivity
  2. Data Integrity + Generation
  3. Collaborative Response Efforts
  4. Disaster Resistant Hubs

Building Climate-Smart Cities

Over 64 per cent of the world population is expected to reside in cities by 2050.

Indian context: As India’s urban population grows from 410 million in 2014 to 814 million in 2050, with about 7 cities having more than 10 million people, there will be an increase in demand for resources.

Climate-smart transformation:  It needs set of city-specific strategies to systematically reduce city’s carbon footprint and enhance resilience to climate change.

Financing climate-smart cities: Needs innovative solutions

Issue: The perceived lack of creditworthiness

Way out:

  • Credit enhancement facilities
  • mobilize credits through local financial institutions (LFIs)
  • cities should develop a pipeline of ‘bankable’ projects that meet broad feasibility parameters

India & Agriculture

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO)—a government agency—conducts decadal study on farmers’ income.

Strategy for Improving Farmers’ Income

The sources of growth in output and income can be put in four categories.

  1. Development initiatives
  2. Technology
  3. Policies
  4. Institutional mechanisms

Roadmap and Action Plan

  1. Increase in productivity of crops
  2. Increase in production of livestock
  3. Improvement in efficiency of input use
  4. Increase in crop intensity
  5. Diversification towards high value crops
  6. Improved price realization by farmers
  7. Shift of cultivators to non-farm jobs

Ashok Dalwai committee on doubling farmers’ incomes

According to Dalwai committee, solutions can be categorized into four broad areas:

  1. Land
  2. Access to markets
  3. Increase in productivity
  4. Increase in productivity

Helping the invisible hands of agriculture

October 15 is observed, respectively, as International Day of Rural Women by the United Nations and National Women’s Farmer’s Day (Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas) in India.

Data and reality

  • women are responsible for about 60-80% of food and 90% of dairy production
  • The Agriculture Census (2010-11) shows that out of an estimated 118.7 million cultivators, 30.3% were females.
  • Out of an estimated 144.3 million agricultural labourers, 42.6% were females.
  • the percentage share of female holders is 13.87%
  • The work by women farmers, in crop cultivation, livestock management or at home, often goes unnoticed.

Concerns and their solutions:

Issue of land ownership – Provision of credit without collateral

Gender-friendly machinery – provide subsidized rental services to women farmers.

Access to resources – Krishi Vigyan Kendras in every district can be assigned an additional task

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