Infrastructure: the good, the bad

Infrastructure: the good, the bad
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First Published: Wed, May 19 2010. 10 40 PM IST
Updated: Wed, May 19 2010. 10 40 PM IST
AVIATION
Positive
• New integrated terminal buildings were commissioned in Srinagar, Visakhapatnam, Tiruchirapalli, Amritsar, Dehradun, Jaipur, Dibrugarh and Surat in February 2009. This reflects a steady progress over previous years
• The modernization of Indira Gandhi International Airport, the country’s largest integrated passenger terminal, by Delhi International Airport Pvt. Ltd in New Delhi completed at a cost of Rs12,700 crore
• The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, a long-proposed organization, became functional on 12 May
Negative
• Saddled with a debt burden of Rs50,000 crore for aircraft orders and working capital loan of Rs17,000 crore, National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, which runs Air India, sought a bailout from the government of over Rs5,000 crore. The government has agreed to give Rs20,000 crore, provided certain annual targets are met
• Navi Mumbai airport project delayed due to objections by the environment ministry
• No reduction in state sales tax on aviation fuel for airlines despite the aviation ministry’s lobbying
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TELECOM
Positive
• Started the process of transitioning the old telecom policy into one more in line with international standards. Internal committee gave its recommendations to the department of telecommunications (DoT) last year, based on which the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has also submitted its recommendations this year. Now the Telecom Commission has to decide on the new policy
• After delaying it for two years, DoT cleared all issues with various ministries and concluded the auction of spectrum for 3G (third-generation) mobile telephony services
• Highest increase in rural teledensity through various schemes and incentives for state-owned and private telecom companies
Negative
• Mobile number portability delayed by almost a year now as telecom operators are not prepared for it
• Number of broadband subscribers in the country hasn’t reached critical mass. The country added 2.5 million broadband subscribers in the last fiscal, compared with 20 million mobile subscribers added just in March
• At least 24,200 villages still remain uncovered by a village public telephone of the total 593,000 villages (according to the 2001 census). The Centre has said it will cover these villages by February
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ROADS
Positive
• While announced targets weren’t met, the highways ministry has still outdone its work in previous years, tendering some 3,166km till March
• The BK Chaturvedi panel and the highways ministry have together been able to iron out several perceived deficiencies in the bid documents, to the industry’s benefit
• Helped inter-state goods transport by allowing for a composite national permit for Rs15,000 per year, as opposed to the current system where national permits are obtained by transporters for each state they want to operate in
Negative
• Minister for road transport and highways Kamal Nath has been unable to offer for bidding any of the 18,000km of expressways announced
• Land acquisition hassles, among others, have resulted in the National Highways Authority of India being unable to meet the target of constructing 20km of highways a day set by the minister
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POWER
Positive
• 1,940MW Dabhol project revived, but problems remain
• India added 8,421MW of power generation capacity, highest in a year
• Efforts to encourage domestic super- critical power generation equipment manufacturing expected to yield results with joint ventures such as Toshiba Corp. of Japan and JSW Group, and Alstom SA of France and Bharat Forge Ltd looking to start manufacturing equipment in India
• Energy conservation and demand-side management efforts expected to yield results
Negative
• Chronic fuel shortages hurting power generation
• Manifold problems in the transmission and distribution sectors resulting in huge losses for state electricity boards yet to be resolved
• Two government energy schemes— the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana for rural electrification and the Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme—running way behind schedule
• Staff crunch at apex power sector planning body, the Central Electricity Authority, has affected its functioning
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PORTS
Positive
• Kick-starting the cargo handling capacity augmentation projects at ports under the public-private partnership route
• Appointment of a full-time chairperson to the Tariff Authority for Major Ports, the tariff regulator for government-owned ports, two years after the earlier incumbent demitted office
• Declaring the Andaman and Nicobar set of ports as a major port owned by the Union government
• Setting up of the Indian Maritime University in Chennai
• Navratna status to Shipping Corp. of India
Negative
• Delay in reintroducing the shipbuilding subsidy scheme that ended in August 2007
• Non-implementation of the cruise shipping policy
• No clear action plan on corporatization of ports
• Lack of focus on tapping potential in the inland water transport sector for moving cargo
• Delay in implementing the channel deepening project to allow bigger ships to call at Jawaharlal Nehru port, India’s biggest container port, near Mumbai
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PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS
Positive
• Implemented the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitrak Yojana to provide LPG (cooking gas) to rural households
• Launched environment-friendly Bharat Stage 4 (Euro 4) auto fuels
• Expansion, if slow, of infrastructure for distribution of LNG (liquefied natural gas) and piped natural gas in cities
• The government has started working on plans for phasing out inefficient subsidies. The oil marketing companies are expected to end the current fiscal with total under-recoveries of around Rs90,150 crore. They lost Rs46,051 crore in the last fiscal
Negative
• There has been a minuscule increase in crude oil production while natural gas production has decreased due to delays in moving from discovery to production stage
• Failed to launch on schedule the nationwide auto fuels shift from Bharat Stage 2 (Euro 2) to Bharat Stage 3 (Euro 3)
• The country’s oil refining capacity has remained constant at last year’s level
• Petroleum ministry has been unable to attract firms to bid for exploration blocks offered through the New Exploration Licensing Policy (Nelp). Nelp-8 got limited response due to uncertainty arising from policies on pricing and taxation
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COAL
Positive
• Completed preparations for the public issue of Coal India Ltd
• Efforts being made to calibrate domestic coal prices with international prices
• Approved plan for Jharia coalfields dealing with fire, subsidence, rehabilitation and diversion of surface infrastructure to resolve the Jharia coalfield fire that has been raging for years
Negative
• Coal production has failed to keep pace with growing demand
• The government failed to pass legislation for introducing competitive bidding for coal block allocation
• The government has been unable to set up a coal regulator
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First Published: Wed, May 19 2010. 10 40 PM IST
More Topics: Report Card | Aviation | Roads | Power | Coal |