Relaxing eligibility criteria for highway projects
The centre has relaxed the eligibility criteria for bidders’ eligibility to develop highway projects under the PPP mode. Companies that have developed linear projects like airport runways, railway tracks, yards for keeping containers, metro rail, and ports, can now participate in bids for capital intensive highway projects. However, the order from Ministry of Road and Transport & Highways also suggests that bidders with only BBB credit rating or above would be allowed to build highways under BOT and Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM). For HAM mode, where union government contributes to a portion of the cost, core sector would include projects with the following titles:
- Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF)
- Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
- Link road, city roads, rural road, sector road or minicipality road
- real estate projects which demonstrate road development
- construction of bridges and culverts, among others
Record growth in container traffic at JNPA
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) has shown record growth in container traffic at 6.05 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the last fiscal. The total traffic handled was 10.35% higher than last year. Paradip port in Odisha handled the highest annual traffic among all ports in 2022. A total of 6,504 container rakes and 1,022,951 TEUs were handled in FY 23.
Tripura hosting G20 conclave on clean energy
Agartala, the capital of Tripura, would host G20 conclave on clean energy. It was earlier planned for Guwahati. Delegates from several G20 countries like US, China, Brazil, and 9 European countries will be part of the “Clean energy for green future conclave”. The conclave will have 9 sessions on various topics. India assumed the presidency of G20 for 1 year from December 1, 2022.
Panel to examine stalled real estate projects
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has set up a 14-member panel headed by Amitabh Kant to examine issues related to stalled real estate projects, and recommend ways for their completion. Mr. Kant is the former NITI Aayog CEO. The committee is expected to submit its report within 6 months from the date of it’s first meeting (31 March). Aim is to allow for handover to homebuyers in a time-bound manner. The Central Advisory Council chaired by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister had decided to form this committee a year ago. The committee comprises top union and state government officials, such as principal secretaries in housing and urban planning departments, chairperson of IBBI, secretaries in department of financial services, etc.
Good worth Rs. 2 lakh crores procured through GeM portal
GeM is a 100% government owned and national public procurement portal. It was launched by Ministry of commerce and industry to create an open and transparent procurement platform for government buyers. Procurement through the GeM portal has surpassed Rs. 2 lakh crores in FY23. GeM is the government e-marketplace and has surpassed Rs. 2,00,000 crores for the first time in FY 2022-23 since its inception in 2016. A total of 50 lakh orders were placed through the portal in the preceding year. Out of the total procurement, the central government purchases stood at 1,55,586 crores in FY23.
Bhopal-Delhi Vande Bharat train begins operations
Bhopal-Delhi is the 11th Vande Bharat train service in the country. Indigenously designed train sets of the Vande Bharat Express are equipped with state-of-the-art passenger amenities. They also provide faster, comfortable and convenient travel experience. The latest VB train was flagged off at the Rani Kamalapati station in Bhopal.
100% electrification of Haryana rail network
Haryana is the first Indian state in India to achieve 100% railway network electrification. The existing broad gauge network of Haryana is 1,701 km long. Haryana falls under the jurisdictions of Northern, North Central and North Western Railway. Some of the major railway stations in Haryana are Ambala, Panipat, Gurgaon, Kurukshetra, Hisar Junction, Rewari Junction, Rohtak Junction and Bhiwani.