Yojana Magazine: October 2023 | Infrastructure

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Infrastructure | October 2023 Yojana



Aditya L1

  • Aditya L1 shall be the first space based Indian mission to study the Sun. The spacecraft shall be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth.
  • A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses. This will provide a greater advantage of observing the solar activities and its effect on space weather in real time.
  • The spacecraft carries seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere and the outermost layers of the Sun (the corona) using electromagnetic and particle and magnetic field detectors.
  • Using the special vantage point L1, four payloads directly view the Sun and the remaining three payloads carry out in-situ studies of particles and fields at the Lagrange point L1, thus providing important scientific studies of the propagatory effect of solar dynamics in the interplanetary medium.

Our Sun

  • Our Sun is the nearest star and the largest object in the solar system.
  • The estimated age of the sun is about 4.5 billion years. It is a hot, glowing ball of hydrogen and helium gases.
  • The distance to the sun from the earth is about 150 million kilometres, and is the source of energy for our solar system.  Without the solar energy the life on earth, as we know, cannot exist.
  • The gravity of the sun holds all the objects of the solar system together.
  • At the central region of the sun, known as 'core, the temperature can reach as high as 15 million degrees Celsius. At this temperature, a process called nuclear fusion takes place in the core which, powers the Sun.
  • The visible surface of the sun known as photosphere is relatively cool and has temperature of about 5,500°C.

Lagrange Points

  • Lagrange Points, also known as Lagrangian points or libration points, are five specific positions in space where a small object can remain in a relatively stable position relative to two larger orbiting bodies.
  • This stability is achieved due to the combined gravitational pull of the larger bodies and the centrifugal force, which balance each other out at these points.
  • Concept:
    • Imagine a system with two large bodies, like the Sun and Earth, orbiting each other.
    • At certain points in space, the gravitational forces of these two bodies balance out, creating a region where a smaller object can stay in a relatively stable “parking spot.”
    • These points are called Lagrange points, named after the mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange who first described them.
  • Types of Lagrange Points: There are five Lagrange points, each with its own characteristics:
    • L1: Located between the two large bodies, slightly closer to the smaller one. It offers an unobstructed view of the larger body, making it suitable for telescopes and solar observatories.
    • L2: Located behind the smaller body, opposite the larger one. It's a good location for spacecraft studying the “dark side” of a planet or observing the cosmos.
    • L3: Located in the opposite direction of the smaller body, beyond the larger one. It's a potential location for future space missions focusing on the far side of the moon or deep space exploration.
    • L4 and L5: Located at the two vertices of equilateral triangles formed with the two larger bodies. These points are stable and can trap dust and asteroids, leading to the formation of Trojan clouds.

  • Lagrange points offer several advantages for space missions:
    • Reduced fuel consumption: Spacecraft stationed at Lagrange points can remain in position with minimal use of fuel, allowing them to conserve resources for other tasks.
    • Uninterrupted observations: Points like L1 and L2 provide unobstructed views for telescopes and other instruments, enabling continuous observations of the Sun, Earth, and other objects.
    • Stable environment: The stable nature of L4 and L5 makes them ideal locations for space stations, telescopes, and other long-term missions.

Why Aditya L1 study sun from space?

  • Uninterrupted observations: Earth-based observations of the Sun are often limited by atmospheric disturbances and the day-night cycle. By positioning itself at the L1 Lagrange point between Earth and the Sun, Aditya L1 avoids these limitations and can continuously observe the Sun without interruptions.
  • Better observation of the corona and chromosphere: The corona and chromosphere are the outermost layers of the Sun's atmosphere, crucial for understanding solar activity and its impact on Earth. These layers are difficult to observe from Earth due to their faintness and the intense light coming from the photosphere. Aditya L1 can study these layers in detail with its specialized instruments.
  • Studying the origins of space weather: Space weather events, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, can disrupt communication systems, damage satellites, and pose risks to astronauts and power grids. Aditya L1 aims to unravel the mysteries of these events by studying the Sun's magnetic field and plasma dynamics.
  • Understanding the Sun's influence on Earth's climate: The Sun's activity plays a significant role in Earth's climate. By studying the Sun's energy output and variations, Aditya L1 can contribute to our understanding of climate change and its future impacts.
  • Contributing to global space weather research: Aditya L1 is a collaborative effort between India and other international space agencies. The data it gathers will be shared with the global scientific community, contributing to our collective understanding of the Sun and its impact on Earth.



  • On July 14, 2023, India's ambitious Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This marks a significant milestone in India's space exploration endeavors and its quest to become a leading player in lunar research.
  • Chandrayaan-3 which soft-landed on the lunar surface, making India the fourth country in the world to land on the lunar surface and the first country ever to land near the South Pole of the Moon, a region that has never been explored before.
  • Chandrayaan-3, which consisted of two parts – the propulsion and the Lander-Rover modules, was developed indigenously exhibiting India's striking technological capability.
  • Apart from its vision of demonstrating end-to- end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface, Chandrayaan-3 also aimed to carry out various in-situ scientific experiments about the Moon's atmosphere, soil, and minerals.
  • The successful landing of the Vikram Lander has paved the way for India's future landing missions and other technological progress in interplanetary exploration.

India's Space Journey

  • India's space journey, from launching its first sounding rocket to a successful Lunar Mission, has been remarkable.
  • The growth of the Indian space sector is a testament to the grit and determination of thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians who believed in Dr Vikram Sarabhai's vision that 'we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.
  • With successful space missions in recent years, India has now taken the brand of Make in India' to the Moon.
  • ISRO's various projects including the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), 'AstroSat'-India's first dedicated Space Astronomy Observatory, IRNSS- India's own regional navigation satellite system (also known as NavIC) are not only demonstrating India's capabilities in space technology, but also establishing India as a pioneer in the global space sector.
  • However, the potential of the space sector is much greater than just launching satellites or exploring space. ISRO has taken giant steps in the direction ofconnecting space applications and technology with every aspect of governance as well.
  • To empower India in the field of space by enabling the participation of the Indian private sector, IN-SPACE (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre) was created to enable policy changes by the Government and provide a level playing field for private companies and startups.


  • The quantum leap, witnessed by the Indian space sector in the last few years, has inspired scientific curiosity among the youth and has encouraged them to be a part of this glorious scientific and technological journey.



  • India's space infrastructure has undergone remarkable growth in recent years, solidifying its position as a key player in the global space industry. From launch vehicles and satellites to ground stations and research facilities, India has built a robust system capable of supporting a diverse range of space activities.
  • Indian space activities began in 1962 with the establishment of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). In 1969, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed, superseding INCOSPAR. Subsequently, in 1972, the Department of Space (DOS) was created to oversee the development and application of space technology to meet various national needs.

Space Infrastructure in India:

  • Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre:
    • Location: Thiruvananthapuram
    • Responsible for the design and development of launch vehicle technology.
    • Major programs include the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3), Rohini sounding rocket, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, and critical technologies for human spaceflight missions.
  • U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC):
    • Location: Bengaluru
    • Involved in the design, development, and realisation of communication, navigation, remote sensing, and scientific satellite missions.
    • The ISRO Satellite Integration and Test Establishment is equipped for assembling and testing spacecraft for flightworthiness.
  • Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) – SHAR:
    • Location: Andhra Pradesh
    • Provides launch base infrastructure for Indian space programs.
  • Liquid Propulsion System Centre (LPSC):
    • Locations: Campus-1: LPSC, Valiyamala, Thiruvananthapuram, and Campus-2 LPSC Bengaluru
    • Engaged in the design, development, and realisation of high-performance advanced propulsion systems for launch vehicles and spacecraft.
  • Space Application Centre (SAC):
    • Location: Ahmedabad
    • Focuses on the development of space-borne and air-borne instruments and payloads for national development. It designs and develops optical and microwave sensors for satellites, signal and image processing software, and GIS software for Earth observation programs.
  • Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC):
    • Location: Bengaluru
    • Established in 2019, it coordinates all developments related to human spaceflight programs.
  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC):
    • Location: Hyderabad
    • It has a mandate for the establishment of ground stations for receiving satellite data, generation of data products, dissemination to the users, development of techniques for remote sensing applications including disaster management support, geospatial services for good governance and capacity building.
  • ISRO Propulsion Complex:
    • Location: Mahendragiri
    • Responsible for the assembly, integration, and testing of liquid propulsion systems for launch vehicles. It provides a platform for simulation trials for interplanetary missions.
  • ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC):
    • Location: Bengaluru
    • Provides telemetry tracking and command and mission control services to major launch vehicles, interplanetary spacecraft missions of ISRO and the ground segment of the NaVIC satellite system.
  • Master Control Facility (MCF):
    • Location: Hassan, Karnataka and Bhopal
    • Responsible for On-Orbit Operations (OOP) and Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations of geostationary/geosynchronous and IRNSS class spacecraft of ISRO. It monitors and controls all the geostationary satellites of ISRO.
  • ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU):
    • Location: Thiruvananthapuram
    • Engaged in the design and development of inertial systems for launch vehicles and satellites.
  • Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS):
    • Location: Bengaluru
    • Involved in the design, development, and production of attitude sensors, high-resolution image optics, and special-purpose science instruments.
  • Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS):
    • Location: Dehradun
    • Focuses on building capacity in remote sensing and geoinformatics through education and training programs at the postgraduate level.
  • Development and Educational Communication Unit (DEUC):
    • Location: Ahmedabad
    • Implementation of satellite communication-based societal applications in the country. It works with user agencies and facilitates the spread of space applications to reach the unreached.
  • Physical Research Laboratory (PRL):
    • Location: Ahmedabad
    • A premier research institute engaged in basic research in the areas of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Solar Physics, Planetary Science, and Exploration.
    • PRL has an infrared observatory at Mt. Abu, a solar observatory in Udaipur and a planetary exploration (PLANEX) programme at Ahmedabad.
  • National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL):
    • Location: Gandaki, Tirupati
    • Engaged in atmospheric and space science with the vision of developing the capability to predict the behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere.
  • North Eastern Space Application Centre (NE-SAC):
    • Location: Shillong, Meghalaya
    • An autonomous organisation under the Department of Science, with the aim of supporting the development process in the North Eastern region through advanced space technology.
  • Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST):
    • First established in Thiruvananthapuram in 2007.
    • Offers high-quality education in space science and technology to meet the demands of the Indian Space Program.
  • Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL):
    • Corporate Office: Bengaluru
    • Engaged in providing space sector products and services to customers globally.
  • New Space India Limited (NSIL):
    • Headquarters: Bengaluru
    • A wholly-owned government of India undertaking to provide space-related products and services from the Indian Space Program to global customers and promote the growth of the Indian space sector.
  • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe):
    • Headquarters: Ahmedabad
    • An autonomous agency under the Department of Space (DOS), responsible for promoting, enabling, authorising, and supervising various space activities of non-governmental entities, including the building of launch vehicles and satellites and providing space-based services.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
    • Headquarters: Bengaluru
    • ISRO’s primary objective is the development and application of space technology to meet various national needs. ISRO has established several space systems for communication, television broadcasting, meteorological services, resource monitoring, and more.


  • India's space infrastructure has made significant strides in recent years, positioning the country as a major player in the global space industry. With ambitious plans for the future, including reusable launch vehicles, human spaceflight, and advanced satellites, India is poised to continue its upward trajectory in the years to come. The country's investments in space infrastructure are not only driving scientific and technological advancements but also contributing to improved communication, navigation, resource management, and weather forecasting, ultimately benefiting millions of people across the globe.



  • Roads, both in number and quality, have been an important driver for economic development and social inclusion. In the recent three decades, the emphasis has been more on quality, leading to better speeds and all-weather connectivity. Various organisational innovations and technologies have enabled this.
  • The road infrastructure of India is classified into six categories. The road length in kilometres (km) of each of these categories and its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in percentage over 1991, available most recently as of 31st March 2019, as per the 2022-23 annual report of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is shown in the figure 1:
  • India has the second-longest road length among all countries (the USA has the longest road length). The CAGR of total road length since 1991 to 2019 has been 3.64%.

  • The CAGR of National Highways (NH) has been the highest since 1991 at 5.02%, followed by rural roads at 4.67%. After 2019, more roads, especially State Highways (SH), have been reclassified as NH for upgradation. The current figure as of 31 March 2023 is 1,44,955 km of NH and 1,67,079 km of SH.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, there has been attention to penetrative connectivity by providing all-weather roads in rural areas through the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). This project was initiated in 2001 and has played a major role in improving access and consequent development. Rural roads constitute over 70% of the total road length in India.

Factors For Growth

  • Delinking Road Development and Direct Employment: In the period until liberalisation, while there was planned focus on road development. [Nagpur Plan (1943-1963), Bombay Plan (1961-81), Lucknow Plan (1981- 2001)], it was also connected with direct employment generation. This resulted in labour intensive means of construction, putting a cap on the quality of roads. It was only in the late 90s when this mindset changed and the use of capital-intensive high-tech road making equipment was brought in.
  • Creation of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI): The NHAI became operational in February 1995, to directly drive the development of NH. Prior to NHAI, the NH development and maintenance was the responsibility of the state with funding from the Centre.
  • Bringing the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in road construction.
  • Creation of State Level Road Development Corporations: The first such corporation, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDCL) was established in 1996. It has developed the Mumbai-Pune Expressway (opened in 2002). Many other states have also followed suit since. Uttar Pradesh is a leader in developing expressway-standard roads.
  • National Highways Development Project (NHDP): It was started in 1998 by NHAI.
    • Phase I: Four laned Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) connecting four metro cities.
    • Phase II: Four laned connecting the north-south and east-west corridors, connecting India’s extreme points.
  • Focus on Rural Roads through PMGSY: This has been one of the more successful projects in India.
  • Providing Viability Gap Funding (VGF) provision rejuvenated interest among bidders towards projects.
  • Model Concession Agreement (MCA): In the road sector, the first MCA was in 2000.
  • Focus on Expressways: The first access-controlled expressway for fast and streamlined movement was opened between Mumbai and Pune in 2002. While the construction of expressways had a slow start, it has picked up in the past 10 years. As of August 2023, India has about 5000 km of operational expressways, with another 9000 km under construction. There are proposals for a further 20,000 km of expressways.
  • New Contracting Models and Asset Monetisation: Apart from the classical tendering through the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) or the PPP through the Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT), the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) and Toll, Operate, and Transfer (TOT) have emerged as acceptable operating models over the past decade. To enable asset monetisation of built roads, the idea of Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InVIT) has been operationalised.
  • Focussed Organisations: Apart from the NHAI, organisations have been created for specific objectives. In December 2012, the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) was set up to carry out electronic tolling. This was followed by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) to carry out road development projects in the border states. The National Highways Logistics Management Limited (NHLML) was set up in 2020 for developing Multi Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) and the first/last mile port connectivity projects.
  • Road Making Technologies: There has been improvement in technology over the years through the easier import of road-making equipment under an open general licence, technology transfers for domestic manufacturing, consortium of Indian bidders with foreign players for improved learning, and more.
  • Electronic Toll Collection (ETC): With the increasing number of toll plazas across the country, it became imperative to bring in ETC to reduce the toll collection time and consequent waiting.

Challenges in Road Infrastructure Development

  • Better Focus on Safety: Road design and construction practices are the biggest causes of our unsafe roads, which kill the maximum number of people in a country. While we aspire for higher speeds on the road, the design and practices have not kept up.
  • Urban Roads: Issues with urban roads such as lack of attention due to shift towards rural roads, low speeds leading to loss of time and money, poor last-mile connectivity, poor urban goods movement, parking issues, coordination issues with urban public transport.
  • Lane Kilometres versus Road Kilometres: As more and more multiple-lane roads get constructed, it is important to focus on the measure of lane kilometres rather than road kilometres. This will capture not only access but also capacity. Maps must also be fed with information on the number of lanes to enable road users to make better choices.
  • Origin to Destination (OD) Data: For future planning of development of the road network, and even if required for traffic regulation, it is important to have OD traffic flow data. Such data collection can be integrated with ETC.
  • Better Co-ordination with PPP Players: Significant time and energy is wasted in disputes between the PPP players and the authority. Many times, the consequential effect is on the road user. There are two-lane highways waiting to be made into four-lanes but cannot proceed due to contractual conflicts. Projects get delayed, leading to significant user inconvenience.


  • Given the traction that the country has built on road infrastructure, we would hope that the challenges are addressed and the momentum enhanced for development.



  • The railways in India provide the principal mode of transportation for freight and passengers. It brings together people from the farthest corners of the country and makes possible the conduct of business, sightseeing, pilgrimage and education.
  • The Indian Railways have been a great integrating force for more than 167 years. It has bound the economic life of the country and helped in accelerating the development of industry and agriculture.
  • From a very modest beginning in 1853, when the first train steamed off from Mumbai to Thane, a distance of 34 kms, Indian Railways have grown into a vast network of 7,308 stations spread over a route length of 68,043 km with a fleet of 13,215 locomotives, 74,744 passenger service vehicles, 10,103 other coaching vehicles and 3,18,896 wagons.
  • The growth of Indian Railways in the 167 years of its existence is thus phenomenal. It has played a vital role in the economic, industrial, and social development of the country. The network runs multi-gauge operations extending over 68,043 route kilometers.

History of Railway's Development in India

  • The main objectives of railway planning have been to develop the transport infrastructure to carry the projected quantum of traffic and meet the developmental needs of the economy.
  • Since the inception of the planned era in 1950-51, Indian Railways have implemented nine five-year plans, apart from annual plans in some years.
  • During the Plans, emphasis was laid on a comprehensive programme of system modernisation. With capacity being stretched to its limits, investments in cost-effective technological changes become inescapable in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for rail transport.
  • Along with a major thrust directed towards the rehabilitation of assets, technological changes and upgradation of standards were initiated in important areas of track, locomotives, passenger coaches, wagon bogie designs, signalling, and telecommunication.

Central Public Sector Enterprises

  • There are 12 Central Public Sector Enterprises under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways, viz. (i) RITES Limited, (ii) IRCON International Limited, (iii) Indian Railway Finance Corporation Limited (IRFC), (iv) Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR), (v) Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL), (vi) Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Limited (MRVC) (vii) Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC), (viii) Railtel Corporation of India Ltd. (RCIL), (ix) Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL), (x) Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), (xi) Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL), and (xii) Braithwaite and Company Limited (BCL).

Research & Development

  • The research and development (R&D) wing of Indian Railways is the Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) at Lucknow. It acts as a consultant in technical matters to Indian Railways, and other organisations connected with railway manufacturing and design.
  • SigDATE: It is an indigenously developed automation tool by RDSO and IIT Kharagpur. It is a tool for generation of route control chart for Electronic Interlocking Systems.

Railway Finance

  • Though a part of the overall financial figures of the Government of India, the Railway Budget was being presented separately to Parliament since 1924-25 owing to the Separation Convention of 1924.
  • The main reason behind the Separation Convention was to secure stability for civil estimates, as railway finance used to be a sizeable part of the general finances.
  • The Government decided to merge the Railway Budget with the general Budget from the Budget Year 2017-18.
  • The unified budget brings the affairs of the Railways to centre stage and presents a holistic picture of the financial position of the Government.
  • This merger would facilitate multimodal transport planning between Highways, Railways and Waterways.

Railway Electrification

  • Indian Railways' Mission 100% Electrification policy is seen as pivotal for the country's entire energy sector.
  • The Government initially stepped up the rate of railway electrification in order to reduce crude oil imports and save foreign exchange payments. However, there has been growing recognition that it will deliver significant environmental benefits.
  • In performance terms, electric traction provides users with a better quality of service. The higher power of electric locomotives increases the average speeds and loadings for both freight and passenger trains, which in turn offers a tremendous opportunity to modernise railways and support economic development.
  • Electrification will meet the aspirations of its citizens to provide clean transport by reducing carbon footprint and providing the country with an environmentally friendly, green, and clean mode of transport.
  • By March 2023, electrification on Indian Railways had been extended to 58,812 (Route Kilometers) RKMs including Konkan Railway. This constitutes 90% of the total BG Railway Network.

Rail Tourism

  • Indian Railways (IR) is the prime mover of tourism in the country by connecting various tourist destinations across the country by rail.
  • The IR have introduced theme-based Tourist Circuit Trains under the Bharat Gaurav Trains Policy with an objective to showcase India's rich cultural heritage and magnificent historical places to the people of India and the world through professionals of the tourism sector and other potential service providers.

National Rail Plan (NRP)

  • Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan (NRP) for India – 2030. The Plan is to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. 
  • The NRP is aimed to formulate strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase modal share of the Railways in freight to 45%.
  • The objective of the Plan is to create capacity ahead of demand, which in turn would also cater to future growth in demand right up to 2050 and also increase the modal share of Railways to 45% in freight traffic and to continue to sustain it. 
  • The key objectives of the National Rail Plan are:
    • Formulate strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase modal share of the Railways in freight to 45%.
    • Reduce transit time of freight substantially by increasing average speed of freight trains to 50Kmph.
    • As part of the National Rail Plan, Vision 2024 has been launched for accelerated implementation of certain critical projects by 2024 such as 100% electrification, multi-tracking of congested routes, upgradation of speed to 160 kmph on Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes, upgradation of speed to 130kmph on all other Golden Quadrilateral-Golden Diagonal (GQ/GD) routes and elimination of all Level Crossings on all GQ/GD route.
    • Identify new Dedicated Freight Corridors.
    • Identify new High Speed Rail Corridors.
    • Assess rolling stock requirement for passenger traffic as well as wagon requirement for freight.
    • Assess Locomotive requirement to meet twin objectives of 100% electrification (Green Energy) and increasing freight modal share.
    • Assess the total investment in capital that would be required along with a periodical break up.
    • Sustained involvement of the Private Sector in areas like operations and ownership of rolling stock, development of freight and passenger terminals, development/operations of track infrastructure etc.
  • 58 Super critical Projects of a total length of 3750 kms costing ₹39,663 Crore and 68 Critical Projects of a total length of 6913 kms costing ₹75,736 Crore, have been identified for completion by 2024.

Vande Bharat Express Trains

  • The Government has dedicated significant efforts towards strengthening the 'Make in India' campaign.
  • As an excellent example of the 'Make in India' success story, the Indian Railways launched India's first indigenous semi-high-speed train, Vande Bharat Express.
  • The first Vande Bharat Express train was flagged off on 15 February 2019, on the New Delhi-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route.
  • This train has been introduced to upgrade maintenance technologies and methodologies and achieve improvement in productivity and performance of all railway assets and manpower in which inter-alia would cover reliability, availability, utilisation, and efficiency.
  • As of 28 July 2023, 50 Vande Bharat train services are running on the Indian Railways, connecting states having Board Gauge (BG) electrified network.



  • PM GatiShakti National Master Plan which has the objective of increasing logistical efficiency, also includes comprehensive Port connectivity projects.
  • The Gujarat Maritime Cluster aims to bring together the maritime service providers, financial institutions, the relevant government regulatory agencies and academicians to accelerate integrated maritime sector development.
  • In order to develop port sector, Gujarat aims to create a maritime environment that boosts confidence in global maritime players, attracts investment, provides stability, and creates a world-class competitive maritime ecosystem.


  • Gujarat is one of India's most industrialised states and is a leading hub for manufacturing chemicals, petrochemical, dairy, pharmaceuticals, cement, ceramics, textiles, gems and jewellery and engineering in India'.
  • Industrialisation has been a driving force behind transport and logistics infrastructure development.
  • Gujarat's strategic location with longest coastline in India of 1600 km and connectivity to all the major port-based trade routes, such as the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Gulf and African countries keeps it at the forefront for leading Maritime development in Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
  • The State comprises 49 ports i.e., 1 major port, Deendayal Port Authority and 48 non-major ports, geographically dispersed across south Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kachchh region and accounts for ~40% of all cargo handled at the Indian port. It is also the first state in India to enact a legal framework for Public-Private-Partnership in infrastructure sector.

Logistical Infrastructure Dvelopment

  • To futher increase the capacities of Gujarat's ports several greenfield and brownfield capacity augmentation projects of ports across the coastline of Gujarat has been proposed.
  • Development of greenfield liquid terminals/ berths to cater increasing LPG imports along with blending facilities at South and Central Gujarat chemical manufacturing and trading belt.
  • Development of satellite ports for increasing trade with western coastal states i.e., Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, etc. which will support coastal shipping for holistic port development and reduce road congestion owing to traffic growth as well as carbon footprint of the state.
  • Development of Grade A warehousing; rail freight terminals or Multi Modal Logistics Parks complementing the Special Investment Regions/ Industrial parks in the State and Port led industrial clusters to enable EXIM trade ecosystem and increase port throughout in the logistics sector in Gujarat.
  • Improvement in the road/rail connectivity of ports in Gujarat for multi-modal and uninterrupted cargo traffic movement.
  • PM GatiShakti National Master Plan which has the objective of increasing logistical efficiency, also includes comprehensive Port connectivity projects.
  • The State has evolved Petrochemical infrastructure at Ports. There are three LNG Terminals namely, Dahej (17.5 MMTPA), Hazira (5 MΜΤΡΑ) and Mundra (5 MMTPA).
  • Dahej is also India's first dedicated Chemical port.

Sustainable Infrastructure Development

  • Gujarat is the leader in the installed electricity generation capacity with 37.35 GW in 202310. Among this 16.34 GW/ 43.74% is from renewable energy.
  • The state happens to have second highest Wind energy generation capacity with 9.21 GW, mostly situated along the coast.

Strategic Developmental Projects

  • Marine Shipbuilding Parks:
    • There are currently nine operational shipbuilding yards in Gujarat. Besides, eight ship building yards are under execution and six under the process of approval.
    • It is envisaged to develop a cluster-based shipyards or Marine Shipbuilding Park (MSP) within a stretch of 5 to 8 km along the waterfronts of Gujarat coasts.
    • Two locations for the same has been approved along the Gujarat Coast viz. North bank of Narmada River in Dahej region ('Dahej Shipbuilding cluster') and Old Bhavnagar port.
  • Gujarat Maritime Cluster:
    • The Gujarat Maritime Cluster aims to bring together the maritime service providers, financial institutions, the relevant government regulatory agencies and academicians to accelerate integrated maritime sector development in the State.
    • Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre, a first of its kind to manage arbitration and mediation proceedings with disputes related to the maritime and shipping sector will be developed in the GIFT city.

Strengthening of Policy and Institutional Framework

  • To develop port sector, it requires creating a maritime environment that boosts confidence in global maritime players, attracts investment, provides stability, and creates a world-class competitive maritime ecosystem.

Initiatives for Strategic Planning

  • All the major ports are in the final stage of formulating Port Masterplan 2047 which will soon be launched. Similarly, States are also preparing their Port Master Plans 2047.
  • This is being framed to increase the Port capacity from 2600 MMTPA to more than 10,000 MMTPA by 2047.
  • The Masterplan is on concept of Port-Led development and the projects identified there under, are focused on Port Modernisation, Port Connectivity, Port-led Industrialisation, Coastal Community Development, Coastal Shipping, and Inland Water Transport.


  • The Port Infrastructure development in Gujarat initiated as the need and is currently inclined towards creating a sustainable infrastructure. With the increasing share of renewable energy, promotion of circularity and inclusive infrastructure planning etc. is creating a liveable society.
  • The coastal development with Gujarat Maritime Cluster, Smart Industrial Port City and research/academic institutes lays the foundation for taking next step in creating interconnected world.



  • Unity Malls – a unique initiative of the Government of India, is poised to play pivotal roles in fostering economic development, providing citizens with recreational spaces, enhancing tourism, and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of our diverse and unique nation.
  • The Unity Malls will serve as comprehensive marketplaces within the States, specifically curated for One District One Product (ODOP), products bearing a Geographical Indicator (GI) tag, and locally-crafted handloom and handicraft items.

Multifaceted Initiative

  • In her Budget Speech for fiscal year 2023-24, the Union Finance Minister unveiled a remarkable initiative the establishment of a 'Unity-Mall' in each State of the country.
  • These malls are envisioned to be strategically located, preferably in the respective State capitals. However, States have been granted the autonomy to select either their financial capital or one of their prominent tourism centres as the site for this project.
  • To showcase the rich tapestry of special products from various districts within the State, each mall will have a dedicated shop for every district.
  • Additionally, each Unity Mall will allocate one shop to each State in India, enabling the sale of their GI products, ODOP offerings, and other prominent regional products.
  • The ODOP initiative, spearheaded by the Government of India, aims to invigorate local manufacturing, create job prospects, mitigate economic disparities, and stimulate equitable regional growth across every district in India.
  • As part of this endeavour, a distinctive product with unique qualities and cultural significance is carefully chosen, branded, and actively promoted.
  • To date, more than 1100 products have been identified and championed through this initiative nationwide.

Mall Design and Amenities

  • The Department of Expenditure in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, has issued comprehensive guidelines to States regarding the construction of Unity Malls.
  • These guidelines emphasise that the architectural design of these malls should symbolise India's unity and grandeur.
  • To ensure uniformity and cohesive branding, Unity Malls across the nation are required to adhere to a standardised signage design, as prescribed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India.
  • The design should incorporate the One District One Product (ODOP) logo and the Make in India logo. Additionally, States are encouraged to explore the use of multilingual signage, showcasing India's rich linguistic diversity.

Key features of approved Unity Malls

  • Assam: Planned in Guwahati, it incorporates a library, art gallery, museum dedicated to ethnic products, diverse food courts and yoga and meditation hall.
  • Chhattisgarh: Planned in Raipur, the mall has been designed in an oval shape resembling a rice seed symbolising the state’s agricultural abundance.
  • Nagaland: Planned in Chumukedima, the mall features theme restaurants, conference rooms, commercial space, and gaming zones.
  • Madhya Pradesh: Planned in Ujjain, the mall features an iconic Mahakal-Lok elevation design. The mall’s architecture encompasses various distinct zones like Millet Lok reserved for food courts and restaurants, Ekam Lok designed for cultural activities, and Utsav Lok designed for open workshops and performances.
  • Meghalaya: Planned in New Shillong, the mall serves as a cultural hub showcasing the cultural diversity of Meghalaya.
  • Gujarat: Planned in Jevadia, the mall’s design is centred around the Ashoka Chakra shape. The mall will have the design of Haveli architecture inside, which was prominent in the historic cities of Gujarat.
  • Tripura: Planned in Agartala, the mall’s roof will be adorned with the colours of the National flag.
  • Maharashtra: Established in Navi Mumbai, the mall will include a variety of amenities like children’s play areas, multipurpose halls, mini theatres, etc.


  • The initiative to establish Unity Malls throughout the nation draws inspiration from the successful 'Ekta Mall' in Kevadia, Gujarat.
  • In a remarkably short timeframe, several states have secured approvals and financial support for the construction of Unity Malls. Proposals and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for Unity Malls in other states are also being rapidly developed.
  • In this transformative era, the nation is on the cusp of witnessing the creation of iconic Unity Malls in every state during the 'Amrit Kaal.
  • This unique initiative of the Government of India is poised to play pivotal roles in fostering economic development, providing citizens with recreational spaces, enhancing tourism, and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of our diverse and unique nation distinctively.



  • Attaining self-sufficiency in foodgrain production has been one of the greatest achievements of Indian agriculture since Independence.
  • India has graduated from a food-deficit, foodgrain-importing country in 1950s & 1960s to a surplus-generating and leading exporting country, particularly in case of rice and wheat.
  • This transformation was possible through 'Green Revolution', with the adoption of high-yielding varieties and other inputs and favourable government policies, such as Minimum Support Prices and procurement.
  • Today, India is one of the largest producers of many agricultural commodities in the world, such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, spices, sugarcane and cotton.

Trends in Agricultural Production

  • The overall food grain production (cereals plus pulses) rose from 51 MT in 1950-51 to over 330 MT in 2022-23.
  • Since 1950-51, the production of food grains has increased over by 6.5 times and that of fruits and vegetables by 12 times, thus making a visible and salutary impact on national food and nutritional security.
  • Among cereals, the production of rice and wheat, in particular, increased manifold between 1950-51 and 2022-23.
  • Irrigation and power infrastructure had substantially improved over the period, enabled the timely supply of much-needed moisture to crops. This reduced crop failure due to the vagaries of the monsoon as compared to the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Further, it facilitated intensive cultivation and the application of modern inputs such as high-yielding varieties, fertilisers, and pesticides.
  • There was enhanced price stability due to Minimum Support Prices and large procurements by government agencies.
  • India is dependent on edible oil imports to meet its domestic demand. The import dependency in FY 2022-23 was around 55% of the total requirement.
    • There was near self-sufficiency in the initial years of the 1970s and import dependence was just 3%. However, this figure had gone up to over 30% from the mid-1970s to 1987-88 due to a shortfall in domestic production.
    • The Government of India implemented the Technology Mission on Oilseeds in 1986 to increase domestic production.
    • As a result, the dependence had declined to just 2% in 1993-94. However, the WTO agreement in 1995 put the edible oils under the Open General Licence, which led to a jump in cheap imports.
  • Production of fruits and vegetables has increased manifold in the recent decades – from 87 – million tonnes in 1991-92 to 320 million tonnes in 2022-23 (First Advance estimate). The yield is also very high at 17 tonnes/ha, compared to that of food grains (at 2.5 tonnes/ha).
  • The National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility of Rs 1 lakh crore, announced in the year 2020, is a welcome initiative to address the agricultural infrastructure issues holistically.

Agricultural resources and Inputs

  • The net area sown for crops in 2019-20 was 139.90 million hectares compared to 118.75 million hectares in 1950-51, thus growing by just 1.17 times.
  • However, population growth was 3.8 times higher in the same period. The challenge of meeting the rising demand for food of the rapidly growing population with a limited increase in net area sown was possible through more intensive cultivation and a higher yield.

Price policy and Market

  • The Government of India fixes Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for 23 commodities in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (which came into existence in January 1965) each year, before the sowing season.
  • Assurance of a remunerative and stable price environment is considered very important for increasing agricultural production and productivity since prices often fluctuate in the market.
  • As agriculture is highly dependent on weather, there are challenges to sustain food production and make agriculture more resilient to climate change, particularly in rainfed areas.
  • Anticipating the challenges, the Government has been implementing schemes such as the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) and National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) to cope with biotic and abiotic stress.


  • Decades of backbreaking work by farmers have transformed Indian agriculture since Independence from a traditional low-production food-deficit sector to a modern surplus food-producing sector. However, some challenges remains which needs a faster and sustainble solutions.



  • Startups have emerged as drivers of economic revival, restructuring, and expansion, which are fuelled by creativity. They aim to establish a future that is decentralised yet collective, tailored to each nation's specific needs and evolving values.
  • Startup20 is the newest Engagement Group initiated under the Indian G20 Presidency. It aims to harmonise the global startup ecosystem and collaborate across diverse sectors of work.

India's G20 Presidency

  • India's G20 presidency is themed on 'वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम' or 'One Earth One Family One Future, a phrase derived from the ancient Sanskrit scripture.
  • The theme of the G20 India presidency underscores the interconnectedness of all life forms and their interdependence on Earth and across the universe.
  • This theme reflects the constitutional values of unity, fraternity, and harmony that are enshrined in the Preamble to the Indian Constitution.
  • It also highlights the LIFE (Lifestyle for Environment) initiative, emphasising the importance of environmentally sustainable and responsible lifestyle choices at both individual and national levels.

Startup20 Engagement Group

  • Startup20 is the newest Engagement Group initiated under the Indian G20 Presidency. It aims to harmonise the global startup ecosystem and collaborate across diverse sectors of work like education, finance, energy, sustainability, agriculture, and others.
  • The deliberations of Startup20 have been organised under five taskforces, namely Foundation, Alliance, Finance, Inclusion, and Sustainability.
  • Each taskforce is headed by a Chair and Co-chairs, who are responsible for leading the discussions and bringing the group to a consensus.
  • The Chair and Co-chairs are representatives of the G20 countries who have worked throughout the presidency to bring out the right requirements and solutions for the global startup ecosystem.
  • The recommendations and policy directives discussed by the Startup20 group during their tenure are produced under an official communique that focuses on the development and growth agenda of the innovation ecosystems of the G20 member countries and emerging economies.


  • The Startup20 Engagement Group has come up with five major action points to build the Global Startup Ecosystem with the joint efforts of G20 countries, which are aligned with the five task forces:
    • Action 1: Create and adopt a global startup definition framework.
    • Action 2: Increase, diversify, and ease access to global capital, markets, mentors, and talent for startups.
    • Action 3: Emphasise the inclusion of under- represented groups and communities in startup ecosystems.
    • Action 4: Cultivate mechanisms to identify and scale startups of global interest.
    • Action 5: Establish a networked institution across G20 nations.
  • Through this Engagement Group, official policy statements capturing the generally accepted recommendations and action items of the G20 nations are compiled and presented. In addition, as a result of the above interactions, several publications on guidelines, best practices, frameworks, and strategic recommendations will also be received.
  • Each presidency stirs up different narratives. The Indian Presidency of the Group of Twenty will encourage conversations of collaboration and consensus focused on actions and decisions.

Additional Data


  • The Prime Minister of India has launched the 'Prime Minister (PM) Vishwakarma Scheme' on the occasion of Vishwakarma Jayanti.
  • The scheme is designed to uplift traditional artisans and craftspeople engaged in various occupations like blacksmithing, goldsmithing, pottery, carpentry, and sculpting, with a focus on preserving cultural heritage and integrating them into the formal economy and global value chains.
  • It will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Government of India.
  • Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME) is the Nodal Ministry for the Scheme.
  • The Scheme will be jointly implemented by the MoMSME, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
  • Objectives:
    • To ensure that artisans are seamlessly integrated into both domestic and global value chains, thus enhancing their market access and opportunities.
    • Preservation and promotion of India's rich cultural heritage of traditional crafts.
    • Assisting artisans in transitioning to the formal economy and integrating them into global value chains.
  • Features:
    • Recognition and Support: Artisans and craftspeople enrolled in the scheme will receive a PM Vishwakarma certificate and an identity card. They will also be eligible for collateral-free credit support of up to Rs 1 lakh (first tranche) and Rs 2 lakh (second tranche) at a concessional interest rate of 5%.
    • Skill Development and Empowerment: The Scheme has been allocated a budget ranging from Rs 13,000 crore for five financial years from 2023-2024 to 2027-2028.
    • Scope and Coverage: The scheme encompasses 18 traditional trades across both rural and urban areas. These trades encompass carpenters, boat-makers, blacksmiths, potters, sculptors, cobblers, tailors, and more.
    • Registration and Implementation: Registration for the Vishwakarma Yojana can be completed at common services centers in villages.


  • The PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan (NMP) is a comprehensive plan for the development of infrastructure in India. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 13, 2021. The plan aims to improve connectivity, logistics efficiency, and economic growth.
  • The NMP is based on the following principles:
    • Integrated planning: The plan brings together 16 ministries and departments of the government to work in a coordinated manner. This will help to ensure that infrastructure projects are aligned with each other and that they are implemented efficiently.
    • Holistic approach: The plan takes a holistic view of infrastructure, considering all modes of transport, including roads, railways, waterways, and airways. It also considers other aspects of infrastructure, such as logistics, energy, and digital connectivity.
    • Data-driven decision-making: The plan relies on data and analytics to identify infrastructure gaps and to prioritize projects. This will help to ensure that resources are used efficiently and that the plan is effective in achieving its goals.
  • The NMP identifies seven engines of infrastructure development:
    • Roads
    • Railways
    • Waterways
    • Airways
    • Urban infrastructure
    • Logistics
    • Digital connectivity
  • Aim:
    • To ensure integrated planning and implementation of infrastructure projects in the next four years, with focus on expediting works on the ground, saving costs and creating jobs.
    • The Gati Shakti scheme will subsume the Rs 110 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline that was launched in 2019.
    • Besides cutting logistics costs, the scheme is also aimed at increasing cargo handling capacity and reducing the turnaround time at ports to boost trade.
    • It also aims to have 11 industrial corridors and two new defence corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and other in Uttar Pradesh. Extending 4G connectivity to all villages is another aim. Adding 17,000 kms to the gas pipeline network is being planned.
    • It will help in fulfilling the ambitious targets set by the government for 2024-25, including expanding the length of the national highway network to 2 lakh kms, creation of more than 200 new airports, heliports and water aerodromes.
  • Key Benefits of the PM Gati Shakti NMP:
    • Improved connectivity: The plan will help to improve connectivity between different parts of India, making it easier for people, goods, and services to move around the country. This will boost economic growth and create jobs.
    • Increased efficiency: The plan will help to improve the efficiency of the logistics sector, reducing costs and making it easier for businesses to operate.
    • Reduced pollution: The plan will promote the use of cleaner modes of transport, such as railways and waterways, which will help to reduce pollution and improve air quality.
    • Improved quality of life: The plan will improve the quality of life for people in India by providing better access to essential services, such as healthcare and education.
  • The PM Gati Shakti NMP is a bold and ambitious plan that has the potential to transform India. The plan is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to make a significant impact on the Indian economy and society.

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