20 national waterways for cargo, passenger movement
For the development of inland water transport in India, 111 waterways have been declared national waterways under National Waterways Act 2016. This includes 5 existing and 106 new ones spread across 24 states. On the basis of techno-economic feasibility studies and detailed project report of the waterways, action plan has been formulated for 26 of these. These were found viable for cargo and passenger movement. At present, development initiatives have been taken up for 20 of these.
UP Government’s new township policy
Uttar Pradesh government has made announcements on incentives for private developers who are building townships in the state. This will boost the sector and help in organized developments. Under the New Township Policy 2023, developers will receive relief in form pf a reduced conversion fee for land use. The new policy will help attract investments and empower private developers to contribute the development of the state. This policy also opens new avenues for integrated township projects by allowing FDI in these projects.
Temple tourism competes with beach tourism in India
India is witnessing a boom in spiritual tourism. Data from tourism ministry shows that over 60% of tourism in India is in the religious and spiritual tourism category. The data from ministry also suggests that economies surrounding places of worship in India earned close to 1.3 lakh crores in 2022. This was 65,070 Crores in 2021. While Varanasi received 7.2 Crore tourists in 2022, Goa received only 85 lakh. In 2017, SOTC became the first travel services provided to offer over 40 curated end-to-end itineraries covering 60 popular spiritual destinations in India.
Hyatt Hotels and Resorts had also launched Hyatt Place Rameswaram the same year as its first vegetarian hotel. Property listings on MakeMyTrip have also grown by 44% over the pre-covid period. It is interesting to note that the temple rush is led by millennials and not just older people, according to Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI). Another reason for surge in spiritual tourism is proactive building of infrastructure by government. Ease of travelling and availability of modern facilities have also contributed to the growth.
India to be one of the largest solar module makers
India is set to emerge as one of the largest solar module manufacturers as it has the fastest growing capacity in renewable energy. India has considerable existing solar manufacturing capacity. Even larger capacities are under construction, including polysilicon. India has one of the largest manufacturing ecosystems in wind energy and a rapidly growing capacity in solar energy. India has achieved the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of 40% capacity from renewable sources. The per-capita emission of greenhouses gases is also substantially lower the global average. There is strong policy support from the central government and enhanced competitiveness of solar and wind power.
NITI Aayog incentives for minerals in Li-ion batteries
NITI Aayog has proposed incentives in form of tax benefits and a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage production and refining of critical minerals used in lithium-ion batteries. In addition to this, NITI Aayog has called for development of strong supply chains of critical minerals and raw materials to boost domestic Li-ion battery (LiB) manufacturing industry. The incentives would also focus on extraction through recycling to manufacture of key battery components in India.
RITES and IRFC to work in Transport Infra sector
Engineering firm RITES, under Ministry of Railways, has signed an MoU pact with Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) to explore possibilities of collaborating in railway and transport infrastructure sector. RITES’ consultancy prowess and IRFC’s financial expertise will stimulate mega and critical projects and drive sustainable growth in transport infrastructure sector. The strategic partnership through knowledge sharing will also bring synergy and innovation in the consultancy domain. RITES will offer consultancy and advisory services and assist in ascertaining the financial and technical viability of projects. IRFC will provide financial services to projects/institutions having backward and forward linkages with the Railways.
Security checks to get shorter at airports
Faster security checks would be enabled at airports through installation of Computed Tomography technology (CTiX) machines. CTiX machines use computed tomography like CT Scan machines to generate 3D models of passengers’ cabin bags. This will eliminate the need for passengers to remove electronic items and liquids from cabin bags for separate X-ray screening. The installation is set to begin in December at hyper-sensitive airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai. However, potential hold-ups in security queues could still arise due to cabin bags containing prohibited items like lighters, scissors, blades and knives. To create awareness among passengers, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has initiated a 5-day ‘Aviation Security Culture Week’ at 131 airports.
Railways to seek 5.25 lakh crores for linkage plan
Ministry of Railways plans to seek cabinet approval for a Rs. 5.25 lakh crores investment programme during fiscal years 2024-31. This is aimed at improving rail connectivity to mining areas, cement plants and consumption points. This is in sync with the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan. This is part of an ambitious plan to create energy, mineral and cement transport corridors for the seamless movement of coal, iron ore, bauxite and cement.