Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Read the attached story
Mains level: Metro Rail Projects are sought to be most feasible options for urban transport. Many systems of Metro rails are now indigenously manufactured in India. The newscard talks about reducing Installation and Operation Cost of metro through standardization and indigenization processes.
- With rapid Industrialization, Urbanization, Globalization and concentration of large population in urban centers, the cities and towns of the country are growing at a faster pace.
- To keep this faster pace, for moving people, goods and services, metro rail projects are playing a crucial role not only as a transportation solution but as a means to transform cities.
Metro Lines in India
- Today, 490 km of metro lines are operational in 10 different cities in the country.
- More than 600 km of metro rail projects are under construction in various cities.
- In the coming years, there will be robust growth in the metro rail sector.
- More than 350 km of new construction will be started in the next few years as more and more cities are planning for expansion or new constructions of metro rail.
Increased Govt Expenditure over Metro Projects
- The Government of India is providing financial support in the implementation of metro rail projects by way of Equity and Subordinate Debt as well as sovereign guarantee for multilateral and bilateral loans.
- The increasing trend of central government budget outlay provided for metro rail projects in last four years is evidence of the ever growing need for metro rail to decongest and enhance mobility in our cities.
- The average budget outlay of Govt. of India is likely to increase to about Rs 25,000 cr annually, apart from the investments envisaged by the state governments, private partners and ULBs.
Decent background for Standardization and Indigenization
- Various other steps have been taken for the systematic and sustainable growth of metro rail projects in the country.
- The standards for rolling stock and signaling systems for the metro rail in India have been notified in 2017 after concurrence from Railway Board.
- The standards for electrical systems have been concurred by the Railway Board recently and the same will be notified soon.
- The detailed specifications for the Automatic Fare Collection System and the complete eco-system based on the Rupay standard has been prepared by NPCI and C-DAC in collaboration with DMRC.
- Substantial expenditure has already been incurred and the first indigenous gate based on the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is likely to be launched and BEL has been tasked for this.
- The specifications of the most advanced signaling system in the world viz. Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) system, which was introduced by Kochi Metro Rail first in the country, is also being formulated jointly by BEL, C-DAC, DMRC, STQC through MoHUA.
- However, there are numerous other areas for which indigenous standards need to be formulated.
- These are layout of metro station, platforms, signage & displays, size of tunnels, fire protection systems, disaster management systems, environment friendly and waste management systems, standards for solar panels at stations etc.
- These indigenous standards will ensure that metro rail sub systems for all new metro projects conform to the prescribed standards thus incentivizing manufacturers to plan for long term investments in the country and set up manufacturing units.
- This will also bring down the cost of the metro rail constructions and operation. For this purpose, a committee has been constituted.