Reading Time:11mins The power sector in India, like many other sectors in the Indian economy, is presently facing numerous issues. At least three indicators of the health of India’s power sector, demand, supply or generation and capacity utilisation of power plants are painting worrisome picture fuelled by the broader on-going economic slowdown and the continued deterioration in the financial health of discoms. Government measures have mostly focused on short-term problems without addressing the core issues and their causes. A comprehensive strategy to promote the growth and development of this sector is a need of the hour.
Reading Time:4mins FASTag is made mandatory for all vehicles, private and commercial, from January 15, 2020. According to the FASTag transactions data released on January 1, 2020, by National Payments Corporation of India, about 6.4 crore FASTag transactions, worth Rs.1,256 crore, were processed in December against 3.4 crore transactions worth Rs.774 crore in November. Paytm Payments Bank issued over 40% of all FASTags in December. Currently, the government is taking the necessary steps to promote it.
Reading Time:9mins The National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) was published in December last year by the Department of Economic Affairs. It provides wide-ranging information about India’s infrastructure investment requirements until 2025 in terms of individual sectors and projects. It aims to improve India’s infrastructure and address the current unemployment crisis. It is a comprehensive strategy to revitalise India’s economic growth by including new projects like housing, safe drinking water, access to clean and affordable energy, healthcare, educational institutes, railway stations, airports, bus terminals, metro, logistics and warehousing, irrigation projects, etc. In short, it sets a humongous task for the centre and state governments for the next five years to improve the country’s infrastructure and ease people’s lives. Therefore, cooperation between the centre, state and private sector and reforms of the existing laws is a need of the hour to achieve the ambitious targets set under the NIP.
Reading Time:5mins Recently, Government of India privatized the Tejas express running from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, which is operated by the IRCTC, arm of the Indian railways. Indian Railways has launched itself on the road to privatisation by flagging off the Tejas Express running between Lucknow and Delhi and announcing plans to privatise the running of as many as 150 passenger trains. Privatisation of railways has benefits like improved efficiency, services, operations, etc. At the same time, it has disadvantages like it can’t provide affordable services, informalisation of jobs, revenue loss to the government in the form of a dividend, etc.
Reading Time:8mins Last year, India’s aviation sector saw numerous problems. Amid an overall economic downswing, the sector started 2019 with the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the country following the deaths of over 300 people in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airways crashes. Then it witnessed the closure of India’s only privately-owned full-service carrier Jet Airways. By the end of that year, Air India sought to go down the privatisation route to save itself from towering debts. There were also notable incidences of runway excursions in some of India’s prominent airports, which brought forth doubts on the sector’s overall safety standards. The technical glitches and increasing debts are leading to the reducing potential of India’s civil aviation market.
Reading Time:5mins In the current century, India’s growth has been fuelled by one sector above all – telecommunications. The connectivity revolution has powered India’s IT giants and helped hundreds of millions of Indians to get onto the grid, giving them a chance to improve their prospects. All of the government’s flagship initiatives’ success depends on this sector and its growth and penetration play a vital role in the government’s strategy to improve the economy. However, currently, telecom business is pushed into crushing debt and possible bankruptcy due to the Supreme Court’s judgement on the definition of AGR. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is going issue notices to telecom companies after January 24, the deadline for payment of AGR dues set by the apex court. This is despite the SC agreeing to list the modification petition filed by Bharati Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Group.
Reading Time:4mins NITI Aayog’s Draft National Energy Policy had called for a single unified ministry to administer India’s energy sector. India currently has a number of ministries and government departments to deal with issues pertaining to the energy sector. This is not allowing for the optimum use of energy and is increasing the complexity of the energy-related issues. The Draft NEP is going to be placed for the Cabinet approval in the near future. Accepting and implementing the NEP’s recommendations on reforming energy governance is vital for addressing the country’s energy sector issues. However, the government should also carefully traverse the recommended reform given the hard-hitting implications on the existing bureaucratic structure.