Growth and development by ordinance: After coal and insurance ordinances, amendments to Land Act have also been brought about via the ordinance route. It’s clear that the government does not want growth and development initiatives to be hampered by stalled proceedings in Parliament.
Tweets: In Land Ordinance, furor over inclusion of array of PPP projects unnecessary as land for such projects will continue to remain with Govt.
Land such an emotive issue any Govt will find it impossible to fully satisfy all stakeholders in the quest to balance growth with consensus.
Railways to get a makeover: In a bid to increase revenues, the Railways and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation are planning to launch a slew of new services in 2015. The Railways is also inviting private sector participation in upgradation of stations. Many of the stations in rural areas with not enough footfalls are to be used for skill development of unemployed youth with the support of self-help groups.
Tweets: Pvt sector free to choose any of India’s 8000 railway stations to upgrade & maintain. Full marks to Suresh Prabhu for practical, impactful step.
Rlys to implement Modi’s out-of-box suggestion to utilise remote rly stations for skill devpt. Have space, 24×7 power & connectivity. Great!
Power play: A Planning Commission review reveals that implementation of infrastructure projects lagged behind for almost all sectors. The only exception was power where new capacity of 10,942 MW was created in the April-November period against the target of 17,830 MW for the entire fiscal.
Tweet: Review of infra sectors from April – Nov reveals highest achievement in Power Capacity addition & lowest in tolled highways & new rly lines.
Union strike: government averts potential crisis: The five-day strike by Coal India unions was called off after the government agreed to evaluate the clause in the ordinance that could pave the way for private commercial mining. A potential crisis situation that could have led to stoppage of production, long hours of power outages and increased coal imports was thus averted. It remains to be seen how the government tackles railway unions.
Tweets: Coal India unions threaten 5 day strike. Rly unions agitate against FDI & PPP. Change-oriented Govt feels the heat from entrenched monoliths.
Must appreciate the mature manner in which both Govt & Coal Unions have defused a messy strike situation & evolved a mechanism to dialogue.
Power sector: focus shifts to distribution: To fulfill its commitment of facilitating 24×7 power supply, minister Piyush Goyal has announced that an amount of R3 lakh crore will be invested in building infrastructure for transmission and distribution of power in the country.
Tweet: Interesting ~ how a relatively more comfortable position on power generation capacity has finally shifted priorities & emphasis to T&D.
Hydro companies come under the scanner: The ministry of environment and forests has formed a four-member panel to look into a cluster of six hydro power projects. The Supreme Court had imposed a blanket ban on 24 projects after the Uttarakhand disaster.
Tweet: After confirming to SupCourt that hydro projects had indeed damaged Uttarakhand env, post mortem now within MoEF how permissions were given.
Metro fares go up in Mumbai: The Mumbai High Court while dismissing the MMRDA appeal gave the go-ahead for the Metro fare hike. It was also critical of the authorities for not forming a Fare Fixation Committee for more than a year.
Tweet: Mum High Court allowing Mum Metro fare hike is step towards restoring confidence in PPP & striking down generally adversarial stance of state.
—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