A Period of Dedicated Efforts Arising Need of Further Development for a Developed Nation Status by 2047

From Highways to Railways: India's Infrastructure Revolution and Economic Progress

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Delhi-Gurgaon-Dharuhera Rapid Rail corridor
Delhi-Gurgaon-Dharuhera Rapid Rail corridor (Representational image only)

In the last few years, the government has made extraordinary expenditures in modern infrastructure, propelling the country to new heights. The quality of a country’s infrastructure is a major factor in determining its economic trajectory. The government has prioritised infrastructure development in its development strategy. In recent years, the country has seen rapid infrastructural development in all areas. Through the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, about 53000 km of national highways have been added, with rural road connection growing to over 95% coverage. 

The highway is being developed at a rate of 37 kilometres per day. The Vande Bharat, India’s first domestic Semi-High-Speed train, is a key ‘Make in India’ success story. Vande Bharat trains are already in service, and 400 more are scheduled to be built over the next three years. Metro rail initiatives have reached 20 cities in the past years. 

Through the Udan project, steps have been taken in the aviation section to make it more inexpensive and accessible for the common man. In the last ten years, 74 new airports have been developed and opened. A total of 111 waterways have been designated as National Waterways. During this time, the country also witnessed major constructions, such as the world’s highest railway bridge (the Chenab Bridge) and the world’s longest highway tunnel (the Atal Tunnel) as well as the completion of many long-pending projects, such as the Saryu Nahar Irrigation Canal, Eastern and Western Peripheral expressway and others. The PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan (NMP) has also been unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the aim of expediting development operations in the country, institutionalizing holistic planning, and inter-departmental cooperation through a single integrated platform. Recent infrastructure development projects are helping to accelerate the country’s progress toward becoming a developed nation by 2047.

Further, given the context of the last many years, it is necessary to state that the rate of progress, both in terms of project approval and execution, has been impressive, as opposed to the situation in which projects were just passed on paper with little execution on the ground. Better infrastructure is one of the most fundamental criteria for a healthy economy since it facilitates the establishment of new firms and simplifies commutes and logistics. Today, the country witnesses improved infrastructure in most of the sectors, including national highways, trains, and new airports. The Indian road network has virtually doubled in size. It has helped transform the impression of the country’s road network from potholes between roads to high-speed national highways. Roads have been built in places where there were none previously. Two lanes have been converted to four lanes, and the existing four lanes have been converted into highways and expressways.

Another stated government ambition is to seamlessly connect India’s north to eastern states such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, among others. Last-mile connectivity, such as new lines in Jammu and Kashmir, bringing new luxurious trains such as Vande Bharat, vista-dome coaches, improving existing train facilities, increasing the number of trains, doubling and electrifying tracks, facilities at railway stations with improved security, have all been prioritized by the government over time. Many projects have been completed, while others are nearing completion. The Rishikesh-Karnaprayag Rail Line Project is going steadily. Despite the topographical limitations of Uttarakhand’s difficult terrain, the project is gaining traction. It will promote socioeconomic, economic, and cultural growth in the region, as well as last-mile connection. 

The government is focussing not only on the national railway but also on regional connectivity with faster speeds and improved facilities to simplify travel between cities. The Regional Rapid Rail Transport System (RRTS) is one such initiative. Trains that are faster than metro and have better stations would allow for a faster and more secure transit between cities. Several RRTS projects have been approved, and the first line between Delhi and Meerut is more than halfway built, with the priority segment expected to be operational this month. Once completed, this project will relieve traffic congestion between Delhi and Meerut and benefit daily commuters. In addition, metro lines in many other cities are being constructed to improve connections and ease of travel. 

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