Tweet: 41 year monopoly of Centre gone. Cab Comm on Eco Affairs approves allotment of coal mines to states for commercial mining & sale to MSMEs.
Coal sector reforms on the cards?: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs’ landmark decision to allow commercial mining by state and central utilities is expected to usher in reforms in the coal sector. Apart from benefiting the coal-rich states, the move is expected to pave the way for private sector entry ultimately.
Tweet: Heartening to see @sureshpprabhu pushing for a Rly Regulatory Authority Bill. Certainly reqd for PPP, Tariff setting & service delivery.
On the right track: An independent rail regulator has been recommended by most committees that have looked into railway reforms for over a decade. Finally, railway minister Suresh Prabhu is proposing to make this a reality and has suggested that the regulator’s functions include setting the framework for monitoring of passenger and freight tariffs, PPP and efficiency.
Tweet: Insightful observation by Chairman Rly Board: “Bullet Trains can change tier-II cities into suburbs of metros.” True-decongesting strategy.
A silver bullet for metro cities?: Urban planners are grappling with massive rural-urban migration as well as the huge congestion in metropolitan cities. It is now being felt that bullet trains will create a class of “sleeper towns” that will help in absorbing some of the migrants who seek work in the metros.
Tweet: Who would have thought that one of the highest growth markets in India would be domestic civil aviation. Grew 25% in November.
Domestic aviation reaches for the skies: According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), 11 Indian airlines carried 7.32 million passengers in November compared to 5.82 million last year. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast that India is likely to become the world’s third largest aviation market by 2026.
Tweet: World Bank aids rural sanitation. $1.5 bill loan for sanitation facilities has an allocation for changing open defecation proclivity.
World Bank support for rural sanitation: The World Bank loan, having a maturity period of 18 years, is aimed at supporting the rural sanitation component of the Swachh Bharat Mission. States and their implementing agencies will be monitored for their ability in changing behaviour related to open defecation and improving solid and liquid waste management.
Tweet: Appreciate Road Ministry’s efforts to identify & rectify deadliest accident spots across national highways in country. 22 already on radar.
Killer roads: The road transport ministry has identified 22 stretches on the national highways across the country that have witnessed the most number of accidents and fatalities. Altogether, 496 such spots have been located and the ministry has earmarked Rs 500 crore for taking long-term accident-prevention measures including rectifying faulty road construction.
Tweet: First 20 now to be selected from 85 SmartCity proposals recd. 3 independent teams will judge proposals to remove any bias. Result in Jan.
Race for the top 20 Smart Cities: The first batch of 20 cities, which will win the nomenclature of Smart Cities and financing, is expected to be announced by the third week of January 2016. The selected cities are expected to receive R200 crore in the first year from the Centre, followed by Rs 100 crore every year for the next three years.
Tweet: Construction technologies now have to clearly demonstrate reduction of dust-pollution. Next target area after vehicular & agro burning.
NCR’s war on pollution: In the wake of the Delhi government’s decision to experiment with odd-even car days to tackle vehicular pollution, Noida and Greater Noida authorities have formed committees to crack down on polluting construction sites. Gurgaon, too, intends to follow in Delhi’s footsteps with car rationing.
—Vinayak Chatterjee is Chairman of Feedback Infra
His Twitter handle: @Infra_VinayakCh
A weekly selection of the author’s tweets—
with a brief backgrounder—in the infra space, by Adite Banerjie