President launched two new trains in Tripura
On 13 October, President Droupadi Murmu launched 2 trains in Tripura. Agartala-Kolkata Express and Agartala-Khongsang Janshatabdi Express. Janshatabdi train will cover 600 kms in 6 hours from Agartala to Khongsang in Manipur. Currently it takes more than 15 hours to travel this distance by road. Agartala-Kolkata express has been extended from Guwahati, making it easier for people of Tripura to visit Kolkata for tourism, educational and medical purposes.
4th Vande Bharat train from Himachal to Delhi
On 13th October, the Prime Minister flagged off the 4th Vande Bharat Express train from Una in Himachal Pradesh. The train runs between Amb Andaura in Una district to New Delhi. En route, it travels from New Delhi to Chandigarh in 3 hours. 3rd Vande Bharat runs between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Fifth edition of the semi-highspeed train will be launched between Chennai-Bengaluru and Mysore in the month of November. It will cover a distance of around 483 km. Vande Bharat 2.0 trains also come fitted with Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) called Kavach. Previous trains didn’t have this feature. Coaches are also equipped with disaster lights with a battery backup of 3 hours.
Freight version of Vande Bharat train to run as super fast parcel service
The first service of the freight train will be run between Delhi-NCR and Mumbai. The new freight trains have been designed for palletised container transportation. The Vande Bharat trains will have a speed of 160 kmph. The 1,800 mm wide rakes with automatic sliding doors would have provisions to load reefer containers for temperature-sensitive cargo. The coaches will also have pneumatically retractable roller floor system with locking facility for easy handling of pallets. A total payload of 264 tonnes can be carried. The freight trains named as “Freight EMU” will cater to high-value time-sensitive cargo consignments which are currently being moved through other forms of transport. Bulk of the Vande Bharat Trains are being manufactured at Integral Coach Factory in Chennai.
Energy transformation and Smart Cities make India a crucial market
India is witnessing rapid urbanization and energy transformation. German companies like Siemens AG are playing a key role in this, having spent Rs. 100 crores in last few years on manufacturing facilities and expansion. The next step is to provide digitalization through industry 4.0, and to provide efficiency and sustainability for the future. India is an important market with investments in infrastructure. Siemens has more than 28,000 employees in India. Among this, 6,000 are software developers at tech centres in cities Pune and Bangalore.
100 Crore ONGC startup fund encouraging energy innovation
Oil and Natural Gas corporation (ONGC) has so far committed Rs. 61.31 Crores out of 100 Cr fund to foster innovation in the energy sector. Startups like String Bio, Chakr and StrautX are part of this ecosystem. ONGC Startup Fund was conceptualized in 2016, ONGC’s diamond jubilee year, and is in the process of getting current valuations by an IBBI registered valuer. ONGC supports startups in early stages with a maximum investment of Rs. 5 Crores. String Bio converts methane to edible proteins for aqua and poultry feed ingredients. Chakr Innovation captures particulate matter from exhausts of diesel engines to reduce pollution. StrautX Technologies captures solar thermal energy as hot air in a ceramic heat exchanger while a Stirling engine converts the heat energy into electricity. The aim is to increase the contribution of fresh implementable ideas in the oil and gas sector, and also promote entrepreneurship.
Startup Bharat set to be bigger than Startup India
With more than 50 crore farmers as per government data, more than half of Indian households are rural. Every villager owns a mobile phone. Most of these phones are smartphones. This provides a huge opportunity which is majorly untapped. While India has the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world, after US and China, emerging startups for “Bharat” are competing with “India”. Startups are moving into rural India by creating completely unique business models that are not applicable to urban India at all. They also have their own unique business models.
$3.6 billion investment flows in real estate during Jan-Sept
Institutional investments in realty went up to $3.6 billion during January-September 2022. This means a hike of 18% year on year. These inflows were mainly driven by office sector that accounted for 50% share. Followed by retail segment which witnessed large deals. On the flip side, hovering recession and inflationary concerns worldwide can lead to delay in fund deployment. Global investors continue to dominate funding activity with higher participation in entity-led deals. On the other hand, domestic investors have become more active in the market. And their investment accounts for 18% of the overall share. Last year this stood at just 14%. Among offices, Delhi-NCR saw the highest share of inflows at 21%, followed by Mumbai and Bangalore. Other asset classes include data centres, life sciences, and industrial units. Strong demand and sales are happening in residential sector too. Private equity investment in Quarter 3 alone stands at USD 322 million (Rs. 26 billion). Domestic entities like Kotak Investment are also planning to create a $1 billion dollar fund dedicated to investing in India’s residential real estate.
Hyperscale Data Centre in Pune by Microsoft
Microsoft India has acquired a 25-acre land parcel in Pimpri-Waghere locality of Pune for developing a data centre on this plot. This is through an agreement with Finolex Industries to transfer a long-term lease. The value of the deal is nearly Rs. 329 Crores. The large hyperscale data centre is part of a multi-city data centre strategy for India.