Home / News / India /  India to raise safety standards of key infra

New Delhi: India has started upgrading standards for critical infrastructure to bolster their lifespan and resilience to disasters, as the country aims to ramp up spending on capital assets by 37.4% in 2023-24 to 10 trillion.

The revisions are required by the changing nature of climate change-induced natural disasters and a review of seismic risks to assets vital to the economy, officials said. Earthquakes, like the ones in Turkey last month, can batter the country, with 59% of its landmass being vulnerable to high seismic activity.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is revamping an array of design norms and quality benchmarks, from oil pipelines to steel and concrete buildings, a move that will span all sectors of Asia’s third largest economy, several officials said.

The standards agency has given the task of R&D for the revamp to some of the country’s top technology institutions. This week, commerce and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal reviewed BIS’s key projects that include new benchmarks for a wide range of goods and services, asking officials to ramp up market surveillance.

Seeking to create jobs and investments, India has added more than 60,000km of national highways to link major industrial hubs, while doubling capacity at ports and adding nearly 100 GW of power capacity in the past five years.

One of the first tasks at hand is an updated “probabilistic seismic hazard map" of the country based on which new codes will apply and work on which is being done at IIT Madras. Assets such as pipelines, the arteries that supply industry with everything from water to oil, will have new design codes for higher resistance to earthquakes, a project being handled by IIT Bhubaneshwar, said Chitra Gupta, senior BIS scientist.

Homes in hills and mountains will also have stricter codes, especially in the wake of the recent land sink in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, which displaced thousands.

“New chairs for standardisations have been created in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in Guwahati and Gandhi Nagar and the National Institute of Technology, Calicut," said Nidhi Khare, additional secretary in the consumers affairs ministry.

Additional chairs are being created in IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi and IIT Karagpur, besides one at the Birla Institute Of Technology and Science, Pilani. All these positions will especially focus on revamping infrastructure standards.

R&D work for two sets of design codes for steel and concrete buildings are being prepared by IIT Roorkee and IIT Madras, while IIT BHU has been tasked with benchmarks to assess vulnerability of physical infrastructure, such as ports, to wind loads, or cyclone resistance capability.

“There are various technical groups that work to create standards through scientific processes, discussions and consensus before they are notified. Their implementation is spread across various ministries," said HJS Pasricha, deputy director general of BIS.

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