Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Improving Infrastructure in India?

Discussing India's crumbling infrastructure is one of the Non Resident Indian's favorite pass time.Core infrastructure issues for India have revolved around communications, transports and power. However taking a deep dive into this subject shows us some interesting facts :
  1. Telecom: We are all aware of the telecom growth story of India.Some estimates suggest that 3 million new telephone connections are being given out every month. Cellular phone services are booming and prices are dirt cheap.
  2. Road Transportation :Traveling between cities has considerably improved. The golden quadrilateral project though behind schedule has connected some of the key cities in India.It is estimated that average speeds have increased by almost 50%.
  3. Air Travel: Air Travel has seen a big boom in India. A large number of private airlines now operate in India and prices of air travel has fallen. Airports are being renovated and frequencies of flights have improved.
  4. Railways : Indian Railways was a loss making institution till a few years ago. Now it is estimated to have a surplus of almost Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion). The frequencies of trains have improved but fares have not increased. The stations are being privatized leading to better service and cleanliness. People are booking railway tickets using their cell phones or the internet.
  5. Power :Power in India used to be a bankrupt sector. Nowdays, one-third of the state electricity boards now make cash profits, and almost all the rest break even. Power upgrades are being planned throughout the country.
It seems the discussion now should be more about Urban India Infrastructure woes rather than India Infrastructure issues. India has made considerable strides in improving its overall infrastructure, however urban roads, bridges and traffic remains a problem . Our economic boom has driven large number of workers from rural areas into cities choking the traffic and other resources. I had read somewhere that Mumbai's population is equivalent to population of NewYork and Los Angeles in land mass of New York! As the benefits of the economic boom spreads to two and three tier cities ( a trend that is happening already) , a large number of people will not have to move for work which may reduce the strain on the urban infrastructure of the big cities.

We should take pride on what India has achieved using a democratic process with unique challenges such as coalition politics , poverty and a huge population; challenges that no country possess!


Anonymous said...

One key to all of this is to improve the mass transit and commuter systems in India. Once you have the ppl using these systems, you will have a better opportunity to improve the older and crumbling infrastructure

Anonymous said...

great to see indias development...but i still fell it is just beginning..we have lot more to do..