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Development Watch – Week #1 March ’23

Development News

“Sakhis” leading rural banking revolution

Female banker friends or “sakhis” are leading the banking revolution in rural India. As per year end review by Rural development ministry for 2022, 1,02,558 self-help group members (SHG) have been trained and certified as business correspondent (BC) sakhis. This is part of the “One Gram Panchayat, One BC Sakhi” initiative. BC sakhis provide higi-volume, low-cost services for banks. BCs also help to involve rural women into informal banking in a more effective way. They are also more profitable, and have lower drop-outs.

BCs can go to hard-to reach rural areas. Their presence also helps in saving travel expenses, time, and prevent wage losses. Transactions can also be conducted on holidays and emergencies when banks may be closed. The BC services were classified as “essential”, even during the Covid lockdown. This ensured the availability and flow of money in rural areas.

Manufacture of 120 Vande Bharat trains in Latur

200 advanced Vande Bharat trains will be made in the Marathwada Rail Coach factory in Latur, Maharashtra. As per Rail Advisory Committee members, a total of 1,920 coaches will be made in Latur, while rest will be made at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. The lowest and 2nd lowest bidders have already been chosen for the Rs. 58,000 crores tender.

Bharat Gaurav trains to be launched for northeast

Indian Railways will launch it’s first set of Bharat Gaurav trains to the northeast on March 21. It will offer passengers a tour of the region. The duration of the tour would be 15 days and will cover Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya. The tour is titled as “North East Discovery: Beyond Guwahati”. The train will depart from Delhi’s Safdarjung Railway Station based on a 14-15 days itinerary. The state-of-the-art deluxe trains have AC I & AC II coaches which will accommodate around 156 tourists.

The train will travel through cities like Guwahati, Sivsagar, Jorhat and Kaziranga in Assam, Unakoti, Agartala and Udaipur in Tripura, Dimapur and Kohima in Nagaland, and Shillong and Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. There will be stops at Delhi, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Tundla, Itawah, Kanpur, Lucknow and Varanasi.

Sagarmala projects worth Rs. 1 Lakh Cr for Andhra Pradesh

35 works worth Rs. 32,000 crores have been completed and more than 110 projects worth Rs. 1.1 lakh crores have been identified. Most of the projects in Andhra Pradesh are focused on Roll-on-roll-off (RORO), passenger jetty, fishing, port modernization and skill development among others. Vishakhapatnam port is being upgraded to a ‘landlord port’ and has seen a healthy cargo growth of 7.5% in 2022-23. Fishing harbour at Vizag is also being upgraded at a cost of Rs. 151 crores. This would help improve the quality of life for the local fishing community. An international cruise terminal in Vizag is approaching completion. It is being built as a cost of Rs. 97 Crores, and will start operations from April 2023.

Hike in hotel tariffs due to G20 meet

India’s G20 presidency has created business opportunities and added to demand for hotel bookings. Especially in the cities that will host G20 meetings. With Bengaluru hotels being sold out, other cities are also witnessing a surge in tariff hikes. There is strong demand for hotels due to meetings and events linked to G20. This includes corporate summits and seminars. Rates in hotels had begun to escalate since October 2022, and have increased further.

2041 Delhi Masterplan approved by DDA

Delhi Development Authority has approved the 2041 draft Master Plan for Delhi. This will pave the way for development and future growth of the city. The plan also includes provision to encourage night time economy. DDA aims to boost housing supply, by way of private participation through land pooling regeneration of planned and unplanned areas. The masterplan also proposes to promote clean economies such as IT/Cyber hubs, knowledge-based industries and R&D facilities in Delhi.

More than 20 million affordable housing units needed by 2030

According to a joint report by National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) and E&Y, Indian real estate industry is expected to reach $ 1 Trillion by 2030. The industry was valued at $200 billion in 2021 and would move to projected value of $1 Trillion in the next 7 years on account of the huge potential it has. The sector will likely contribute 18-20% to India’s GDP by 2030.

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