Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Improving Indian Infrastructure: A long long way to go!

Here are some interesting (or shocking) statistics that I came across, while reading the Sept 6, 2009 issue of the 'Business India' Magazine.

Every successive Indian government claims to have made giant strides in India's infrastructure development. Here's some data on the Power sector and the Road Sector.

Indian Power Sector:

''Ageing thermal units that generate almost a fifth of India's power are slated for a revamp.

Old, inefficient and polluting coal fired power plants have been earmarked for the government's R&M/LE (renovation and modernisation/life extention ) programme. These mainly 210MW and some 110MW units built 20 to 30 years ago have a cumulative capacity of 27,000 MW, almost a fifth (18.21%) of India's installed power capacity.''

India's Road Sector:

''With 3.314 million km of roads, the country has the second largest such network in the world. But much of this is of abysmal and degraded quality and overburdened. This is especially true for highways - which are the lifeline of any modern economy anywhere in the world.

Highways account for some 65,000 km, or about 2%, of the total road network in the country. 90% of these highways are single - lane or two -lane affairs. Overall, roads support 80% of the passenger traffic and 65% of the freight traffic in the country. 40% of this overall traffic occurs on highways. They are overcrowded for the most part, which implies slow moving wheels of transport and of the economy, as well as poor upkeep.''

Source: September 6, 2009 Business India Magazine

Well, there's not much that I can add to the above statistics. What I can tell you, is that India is way behind schedule as far as infrastructure development goes!

Economic development and subsequent GDP growth over the past 5 years, has put further stress on an already 'stressed out' infrastructure system.
(Think of congested airports and seaports, crazy traffic jams in Mumbai, and the pending 'rail freight corridor' project)

I hope that the government realises that sustained GDP growth is impossible without improving infrastructure.

India has great potential to emerge as one of the world's largest - diversified economies.
Unlike some BRIC nations, GDP growth is well balanced, & not dependent solely on commodities. (Think Russia & Brazil)
The economy is not export dependent and domestic consumption continues to support industrial production through this economic downturn.

Before India can take its next leap forward, its infrastructure issues will have to be sorted out!

I will end with some links on the Indian Monsoon, by Business Standard columnist Shreekant Sambrani.
(While I'm not a weather/ monsoon expert, the temperatures in Mumbai this year in the months of July and August have been extremely warm, and the monsoons seem to have vanished!)

July 5, 2009 :
Follies & IMD - Siamese twins
July 16, 2009 : Shreekant Sambrani: No doubt, it's a drought
August 8, 2009 :Shreekant Sambrani: Talking down the drought
August 29, 2009 :Shreekant Sambrani: Drought of agricultural policies

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