A rough ride ahead for land Act: The amended Land Bill emanating out of the ordinance was passed in the Lok Sabha after nine amendments were made. However, there are hurdles ahead in the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition wants a select committee to be set up to discuss the contentious issues in the Bill.
Tweets: All bickering on Land Bill is over one fundamental issue ~ extent of supremacy of “greater common good” over “individual rights.”
Ordinance amending Land Act lapses on 5 April if not passed by both Houses by then. Parliament is on recess from 20 March to 20 April.
Exploring the potential of waterways: The government is planning to seek Parliament’s approval to turn 101 rivers into waterways in a bid to promote this cheaper mode of transport. It has also initiated efforts for detailed project reports for 55 of these rivers. It appears that an Act in Parliament is required as riverine matters are a state subject.
Tweet: Govt wants to transform 101 rivers into “Waterways.” Good. But what is the need to introduce a Bill in Parliament for this purpose?!
E-Governance via PRAGATI: A new governance programme aimed at speedy redressal of public grievances and monitoring of projects has been greenlighted. The Prime Minister will hold monthly conference calls with state chief secretaries and secretaries.
Tweet: Another acronym—PRAGATI (Pro-active Governance And Timely Implementation). Prime Minister to hold monthly meetings
to review projects.
Discom crisis—need for a new strategy: Discom bailouts are clearly not working. The right strategy: an urgent overhaul of discom operations, including handing over distribution to private sector via PPP modes.
Tweet: Power Ministry “has expressed concern” over finances of Discoms. Collectively their loans are R3 lac crs & cumulative losses R2.5 lac cr.
Operation NHAI Overhaul: The government is keen to fast-track the makeover of NHAI to achieve the 30-km-per-day road building target set by transport minister Gadkari as well as improve private sector sentiment by settling long-pending disputes over 140-odd road contracts.
Tweet: Signals from different quarters indicate that Govt is finally serious
about a major overhaul of NHAI systems & processes. Long overdue.
Building smart cities, the Sanand way: The Gujarat government’s enabling policies have turned Sanand into a magnet for the auto industry. Focused initiatives like these can speed up the move towards a new generation of smart cities. Clear ‘anchor tenets’ are a prerequisite.
Tweet: ET: “Sanand in Gujarat has the makings of India’s Detroit.” This is the kind of cluster approach necessary for a greenfield ‘smart city.’
Playing politics with development funds: Funds generated from boom cities are used up for various other purposes by states. It is important that the urban infrastructure requirements are kept in consideration while redeploying these resources. A case in point: Gurgaon received R7,527 crore less than the resources generated.
Tweet: Haryana finances for 10 yrs shows Gurgaon recd devpt funds of only 50% of revenue generated; possibly similar across all successful cities.
Good riddance—BRT corridor in Delhi to be scrapped: Bad planning, shoddy implementation and poor management turned the Khanpur-Moolchand stretch into a traffic nightmare. Delhi PWD minister has been urged to scrap the project.
Tweet: Scrapping imminent of the Khanpur-Moolchand BRT Corridor in Delhi. Poorly-planned innovations do disservice to urban transport solutions.
—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