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Development Watch – Week #2 July ’23

Development News

Demand for aircrafts high in India

There is record demand for Airbus orders from India, and has increased sharply. In the month of June, the demand increased sharply with 1,044 net orders in the first half of the year. Airbus officially booked orders for 500 jets from budget carrier Indigo. 250 orders were placed from Air India. These were finalized last month during Paris Airshow. Airbus is targeting 720 deliveries this year. From January to May, Boeing won 223 gross orders and delivered 206 airplanes. At the same time, NIYI Aayog is examining the viability of UDAN scheme. The Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO) under NITI Aayog has issued and RfP for evaluating the scheme. The study will identify challenges and gaps related to operations, management, and development of airports. It would also provide research and economic perspectives on all aspects of the projects.

India to have 240 airports by 2030

As per a statement by Minister of Civil Aviation, India will have 230-240 airports. This would include heliports, and water aerodromes. Currently the number stands at 148. Expanded capacity for metro airports will be able to accommodate growing number of planes. In 2013-14, there were 6 crore passengers. Presently airlines are carrying 14.5 Crore passengers annually. This year, the pre-covid peak also crossed at 4,60,000 passengers per day. There has been a surge in demand. Fleet size of aircraft has also grown from less than 400 in 2014 to 700 now. Civil aviation industry in India is now at an inflection point and being more and more democratized. By 2030, India’s fleet size may go up to 1,400 planes.

Draft notification for AC truck cabins

The government has approved draft notification for mandating air conditioned truck cabins. Union Minister for Road Transport said that the draft notification to mandate installation of air-conditioning systems in truck cabins has been approved. This would provide comfortable working conditions for truck drivers. This would also improve their efficiency and address the problem of driver fatigue. Truck drivers play a key role in the transport sector.

20 startups selected for Google accelerator programme

The selected Seed to Series A startups will work to leverage the power of generative AI. They have been chosen from more than 1,050 applications and will now be part of 137 Google accelerator startups in India. The program will begin with a 1-week in-person bootcamp in Bangalore on 12th July. It will be focused on training/workshops and office hours around product and design, tech, growth, and people. GFSA is a 3-month, equity-free accelerator programme. The is the 7th edition of the GFSA. The select startups also receive mentorship and support around Cloud, UX, Android, Web, Product strategy and growth. India is also targeting one lakh unicorns in future. The extent of digitalization of government, governance and economy will further grow. Semi-conductor manufacturing and electronics are also being promoted. Draft Digital India bill and draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill was approved by the Cabinet.

DDA flats see record demand for booking

The DDA Housing scheme flats in Dwarka were sold out in hours after the launch of the scheme. The booking of flats started on July 10. Under the first come, first-serve (FCFC) housing scheme, 5,500 flats across all categories at various locations in Delhi were on offer. In this 4th phase of the DDA scheme, more than 900 flats have been booked. Flats in Narela and Rohini were also seeing heavy demand from the public.

Better power availability in Rural areas

According to the Power minister, the central government has brought about a huge change in India. In rural areas, power availability has now increased from 12:30 hrs in 2014 to 23:30 hours in 2023. A two-day Review Planning and Monitoring (RPM) meeting was convened under the chairmanship of the union minister. Power sector in India has added 185 GW capacity. This has transformed the country from power deficit to power surplus.

The whole country is connected with a single unified grid capable of transferring 1,12,000 MW from one part of the country to another. Viability in the power sector has also improved. Today, all current power purchase dues are paid on time. Legacy dues have come down from 1,39,747 Cr to less than 70,000 Crores. Central government has made changes to prevailing power tariff system through amendment in existing rules. A ‘time-of-day’ based power tariff mechanism has been introduced. Rather than being charged for electricity at the same rate at all times of the day, tariff will vary according to time of the day after amendments are made to Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020.

Under the proposed Time-of-day based system, tariff during solar hours, i.e., 8 hours of the day, shall be 10-20% less than the normal tariff. Tariff during peak hours will be 10-20% higher. Proposed tariff would apply for commercial and industrial consumers with a maximum demand of 10 kW+ from April 1, 2024. This will be applicable to agricultural consumers from April 2025. Time of day tariff will be made effective after installing smart meters. This helps to shift the power loads from peak times to off-peak times.

Railway employees suspended for Balasore Train accident

7 railway employees were suspended, including 3 employees arrested by CBI on charge of dereliction of duty leading to triple train crash in Odisha. 293 people were killed and over 1,200 injured in collisions near Bahanaga Bazar Railway station in Balasore on June 2. Earlier, the CBI has arrested senior Section Engineer (signal), another section engineer and a technician. The probe conducted by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), South Eastern Circle, revealed that the accident took place due to lapses in the signalling circuit alteration in the North Signal goomty of the station.

Special trains launched for heritage sites

Indian Railways will launch special trains connecting heritage sites. Heritage special would be built using ‘steam engines’ as the theme. The special train would be tested on long heritage routes, and later it would be open for tourists in 2-3 months. Certificate of safety has been received for it. Commercial operations would begin soon. The Railway Minister recently also inspected the production of state-of-the-art Vande Bharat at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai. These are new-generation high-speed trains. In 2018-19, ICF rolled out the country’s first semi-high-speed train set popularly known as “Vande Bharat Express”. In October 2022, ICF achieved the distinction of turning out 70,000+ coaches since its inception in 1955. This is the highest by any passenger coach manufacturers in the world.

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