Modi 3.0 Unveils Ambitious Railway Investment Plan of Rs 10-12 Lakh Crore - Business Guardian
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Infrastructure Development

Modi 3.0 Unveils Ambitious Railway Investment Plan of Rs 10-12 Lakh Crore



The plan introduces a revamped ticket refund scheme ensuring refunds within 24 hours, streamlining the process and improving customer satisfaction.

In a significant move aimed at enhancing passenger convenience and modernizing the Indian Railways, officials have unveiled a comprehensive 100- day plan following the 2024 elections. This ambitious plan encompasses a range of passenger-friendly measures and infrastructural developments. One of the key highlights of the plan is the introduction of a revamped ticket refund scheme, which guarantees refunds within 24 hours, replacing the existing process that could take up to one week.

This initiative aims to streamline the refund process and enhance customer satisfaction. Additionally, Indian Railways is set to launch a comprehensive ‘super App’, consolidating various railway-related services into a single platform. From booking and cancelling tickets to live tracking of trains and ordering food onboard, the super App is poised to revolutionize the passenger experience. Moreover, the government has announced the implementation of the “PM Rail Yatri Bima Yojana,” an insurance scheme designed to provide coverage to all rail passengers, ensuring their safety and well-being during their journey.

In line with efforts to modernize the railway infrastructure, an investment ranging from Rs 10 to 12 lakh crore over the next five years has been earmarked. This substantial investment aims to transform Indian Railways into a modern, world-class transportation system equipped with stateof-the-art facilities. The introduction of Vande Bharat trains across India marks another significant development, with plans to categorize them into three types based on route lengths: Vande metro, Vande chair car, and Vande Sleeper, catering to different travel distances. Furthermore, the government envisions the creation of three economic corridors spanning over 40,000 kilometers, with an investment exceeding Rs 10 lakh crore.

These corridors are expected to boost economic growth and connectivity across the country. In a bid to enhance passenger experience, over 1,300 railway stations are slated for modernization through private participation, offering world-class amenities such as shopping malls and airport-like waiting lounges. Expanding metro networks in urban cities and introducing more high-frequency trains, like the partially launched RAPID rail between Delhi and Meerut, are also part of the ambitious plan. The propose

st the formation of the new government. These initiatives underscore the government’s commitment to revolutionizing India’s railway sector and fostering economic growth and connectivity nationwide. This initiative represents a significant stride towards enhancing passenger convenience and aligning railway services with modern expectations.

By slashing the refund processing time from up to one week to a mere 24 hours, the plan demonstrates a commitment to efficiency and customer-centricity. Streamlining the refund process not only reduces inconvenience for travellers but also fosters trust and confidence in the railway system. With such proactive measures, the Indian Railways is poised to redefine standards of service excellence, setting a precedent for other sectors to emulate in the journey towards progress and innovation.

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Infrastructure Development

GMR Intl Airport upgraded by S&P Global on tariffs, robust traffic



Hyderabad’s GMR International Airport (GHIAL) on Tuesday was upgraded to a higher rating of ‘BB’ from ‘BB-’ by S&P Global Ratings due to stronger profitability, higher approved tariffs and a robust recovery in traffic. The stable rating outlook reflects a positive view that GHIAL’s ratio of operating cash flow (OCF) to debt will recover to 8 per cent to 9 per cent over the next two years, ending 31 March, 2025, (fiscal 2025) and 2026, from S&P’s estimate of 6.3 per cent in fiscal 2024 driven by robust traffic growth and an improvement in EBITDA margin to close to 50 per cent, S&P said on Tuesday.

The stronger performance tariff (aeronautical revenue per passenger, excluding cargo, ground handling, and fuel farm) will increase to Rs 440 per passenger in fiscal 2025 and Rs 420 in fiscal 2026, from Rs 300-R 400 over the past two years. This increase will support a doubling of EBITDA to about Rs 15.8 billion in fiscal 2025, from fiscal 2023 levels. Similarly, we expect operating cash flow to double to more than INR 6 billion in fiscal 2025.

The airport’s profitability has also recovered significantly during the first nine months of fiscal 2024, raising expectations of strong EBITDA margins of 50 per cent to 53 per cent over the next three years backed by higher passenger traffic and non-aeronautical revenue, particularly in the retail and duty-free segments. Moreover, GHIAL’s operating costs will likely stabilize following the completion of its terminal expansion.

The global rating agency also observes robust recovery in passenger traffic which will support improvement in financial performance. The estimate is that total passenger traffic at Hyderabad airport will increase to about 29 million passengers in fiscal 2025 and 32 million in fiscal 2026, registering a 10-15 per cent annual growth. We believe inflation and higher air fares will not materially dent travel demand.

The airport’s total passenger traffic rebounded strongly to 25 million passengers in fiscal 2024, about 115 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Domestic and international traffic surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Strong demand for both leisure and business travel, higher airlines’ capacity, and an increase in daily flights on commissioning of recent terminal expansion will support traffic growth for GHIAL.

However, GHIAL’s capital spending for its next phase of expansion and for dividends may limit significant improvement in cash flow metrics. The company’s next phase of expansion over fiscals 2028-2031 would have a total project cost of about Rs 55 billion. Large expansion work will likely start in fiscal 2028 with the construction of a second runway. As such, capital expenditure (capex) needs could increase significantly during that year to Rs 6 billion, from Rs 5 billion in fiscals 2026-2027.

According to S&P Global, GHIAL may resume dividend payments of Rs 2 billion in fiscal 2025 and the payout could further rise to Rs 3-5 billion in subsequent years. In S&P’s view, greater clarity on GHIAL’s dividend policy and distributions are key credit considerations. Materially higher dividends than we estimate could weaken the company’s financial ratios.

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Infrastructure Development

Railways developing Amrit Yard Model to ease congestion



After Amrit Bharat stations and trains, the Ministry of Railways is now working on the Amrit Yard concept to decongest saturated yards on the railway network.

Following the introduction of Amrit Bharat stations and trains, the Ministry of Railways is currently focusing on implementing the Amrit Yard concept. This initiative aims to alleviate congestion in saturated yards across the railway network, which has hindered train speeds and movement despite previous track expansion efforts. To materialize the Amrit Yard concept, the ministry has formed a committee comprising senior railway board officials and a senior executive from the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS).
According to officials, the concept borrows from the model of Smart Yards, which the railways have been aiming to implement for a while to reduce train evacuation time from yards. “With tracks increasing at a major rate, the outcomes on train mobility have not been that efficient as trains on these increased tracks still have to halt at junctions with limited capacity, delaying the process even further,” he added. The panel is studying national and international best practices for assessing yard mobility and will make recommendations for standardisation of data across signalling systems.
However, former railway officials said board-level interventions would bear little fruit until major projects such as the yard remodelling of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) Junction (formerly Mughalsarai), among others, were completed. DDU Junction is the biggest chokepoint on the Indian Railways network due to the volume of trains passing through it.
The station contains the largest railway marshalling yard in Asia which caters to around more than 500 trains a month. Another railway board official, in response to the paper’s queries, said that the committee is currently looking into measures such as optimising the placement of freight trains on loop lines (extra lines) so that the maximum number of trains can be accomodated in a smooth manner.

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Gujarat and Karnataka lead clean energy transition: IEEFA Report



The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and Ember’s report, “Indian States’ Electricity Transition” (SET), underscores Karnataka and Gujarat’s leadership in advancing the clean energy transition. The report emphasizes that these states have demonstrated robust performance in various aspects, successfully integrating renewable energy sources into their power sectors and making significant progress in decarbonization efforts.

The report evaluates the clean electricity transition preparedness at the subnational level. In 2024, the report adds five more states, totaling 21 states and representing about 95% of India’s annual power demand in the past seven financial years (FY) 2018 to 2024 (up to November). This year, the assessment parameters have been updated to better align with states’ electricity transition progress, incorporating stakeholder feedback and data availability. According to the re – port, progress in states like Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh needs to improve, similar to last year’s findings. While these states are in the early stages of their transition, they now need to focus on increasing renewable energy deployment, enhancing short term market participation and strengthening their distribution companies.

The report was released when temperatures in India started to soar, leading to the Ministry of Power preparing for a projected peak power demand of 260 gigawatts. Harsh summers also offer the chance to utilise more clean energy like solar power. Although, this requires the preparedness of states to transition to clean sources of electricity. “Cyclical weather conditions coupled with faster economic activity is pushing India’s peak electricity demand higher every year.

While the central government is taking steps to integrate more renewable energy into the grid, states, too, need to be prepared to do so. Gauging subnational progress now requires constant monitoring of several parameters at the state level. A purely national overview can often overshadow subtle intricacies at the state level, which may stymie the country’s electricity transition,” said the report’s contributing author, Vibhuti Garg, Director – South Asia, IEEFA.

The report finds that while the national-level progress towards the electricity transition is progressing well, it is far more uneven at the state level. “Some states have developed progressive steps, such as boosting decentralised renewable energy deployment, promoting solar pumps for agricultural needs, and enhancing storage solutions to ensure more renewable energy in their electricity systems. But, the transition to clean electricity is still in its infancy in many states.

These states should look to accelerate the efforts to access the benefits of a transition to clean electricity and to ensure that they are not left too far behind the better performing states,” said the report’s contributing author, Aditya Lolla, Asia Programme Director, Ember. One of the major findings from the report was that several states are exhibiting preparedness to embrace electricity transition.

They perform well in the Readiness and Performance of the Power Ecosystem and Market Enablers dimensions but need to improve in the Decarbonisation dimension. “Delhi’s power system is well-prepared for decarbonisation, while Odisha has robust market enablers to support decarbonisation in the power sector.

However, their actual decarbonisation progress so far does not match their strengths in these aspects, highlighting the importance of performing well in both dimensions to effectively achieve decarbonisation goals,” said co-author Neshwin Rodrigues, Electricity Policy Analyst, Ember.

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Infrastructure Development

UP Govt likely to lay foundation stone of film city project after LS polls



As per the real estate consultancy firm CBRE, the development of the first phase of International Film City in Noida is expected to generate direct and indirect employment for 10,000 people.

The foundation stone for Uttar Pradesh’s government ambitious International Film City project is likely to be laid soon after the Lok Sabha elections, according to sources. According to sources, the foundation stone of the project will probably be laid by late June 2024 after the general elections. The nationwide Lok Sabha elections are set to begin on 19 April and will continue till 1 June. The results of the election will be announced on 4 June, 2024. In a Cabinet meeting held last month in March, the UP government gave approval for the film city project.

Later that month, the government also issued the award letter for the concessionaire of the project. Baywatch Projects LLP, helmed by Bollywood filmmaker Boney Kapoor, heads a consortium with Noida’s Bhutani Infra to develop the Film City project near Noida International Airport along the Yamuna Expressway. The first phase of the project will be built on 230 acres of land. “The foundation stone of the project was to be laid by UP CM Yogi Adityanath in March 2024 before the model code of conduct, but it could not happen. So the state government is now likely to lay the foundation stone for the project in June 2024, soon after the Lok Sabha elections. Officials of the state government in Lucknow as well as of YEIDA (Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority) have also been asked to start preparations in this connection,” sources told the media.

He said that the work on the ground is likely to start soon after the foundation stone laying. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s ambitious International Film City will be developed in Sector 21 along the Yamuna Expressway near Noida International Airport. Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) is helming the project and it has also allotted land to the consortium in sector 21 where construction work will be started.


Sources also the use of solar energy is being considered for electricity. According to the master plan of the film city, all the studios in the film city will run on solar systems that will be installed on the rooftops of studios, sources said. They said that in a recent presentation, the company also informed officials that the International Film City will be developed by dividing it into seven zones in Sector-21 near Noida Airport and it is also likely to have a signature tower in the film city.

The financial bids for the film city project were opened on January 30, 2024 at the YEIDA office where Boney Kapoor’s Bayview Projects LLP in association with Bhutani Infra had emerged as the highest bidder for the project. Out of 230 acres of land, 155 acres will be dedicated for industrial use and the remaining 75 acres for commercial use.

The industrial aspect of the project will comprise the development of film studios, a film institute, post-production facilities, and other film related developments, while the commercial part will include activities such as hospitality projects and amusement parks, among others.

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India’s Healthcare Sector Shines on World Health Day with 12.59% Growth in 2024-2025



The theme for World Health Day 2024 is ‘My health, my right.’ According to the World Health Organisation, this theme aims to promote the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to health services, education and information.

India’s healthcare realm is experiencing a profound shift, propelled by substantial investments in infrastructure development. The Union Health Ministry’s allocation of Rs 90,658.63 crore in the interim budget for 2024–2025 marks a notable 12.59 per cent increase, emphasizing the government’s prioritization of healthcare expenditure. As the globe observes World Health Day, India commemorates significant milestones in its healthcare sector, with a strategic focus on infrastructure enhancement, equitable access to quality care, and the implementation of transformative initiatives.

Since 2016, the Indian healthcare industry has been on a soaring trajectory, boasting a remarkable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 22 per cent. The hospital market in India, valued at USD 98.98 billion in 2023, is poised to sustain its upward momentum, with projections foreseeing a CAGR of 8.0 percent from 2024 to 2032. By 2032, the market is anticipated to reach a staggering value of USD 193.59 billion. Beyond the burgeoning hospital market, various segments within the Indian healthcare industry are experiencing rapid expansion.

The telemedicine market, for instance, is anticipated to soar to USD 5.4 billion by 2025, exhibiting an impressive CAGR of 31 percent. Similarly, the adoption of AI applications in healthcare is projected to surge at an annual rate of 45 percent by 2024, indicating a notable shift towards technology-driven healthcare solutions. Furthermore, the health-tech sector is primed for substantial growth, with hiring anticipated to escalate by 15- 20 percent in 2024. With pioneering investments and visionary policies, India is reaffirming its commitment to ensuring health and wellness for all its citizens.

On February 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated five new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) facilities across the nation, including Rajkot (Gujarat), Bathinda (Punjab), Raebareli (Uttar Pradesh), Kalyani (West Bengal), and Mangalagiri (Andhra Pradesh). Additionally, he unveiled a total of 202 healthcare infrastructure projects worth over Rs 11,700 crores across 23 states and union territories, encompassing medical colleges, specialty units, and research facilities.

Transforming healthcare accessibility, PM Modi’s flagship scheme, Ayushman Bharat, stands as a testament to India’s commitment to providing accessible and affordable healthcare to all citizens. Launched in 2018, Ayushman Bharat comprises four pillars aimed at revolutionizing the healthcare landscape. PM-JAY, the world’s largest government-funded health insurance plan, extends coverage to nearly 55 crore individuals from vulnerable families, offering an assured health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year.

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APSEZ handled 420 MMT cargo globally, domestic ports +408 MMT in FY24



Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), has handled 420 MMT cargo in FY24 — an increase of 24 per cent yoy – and this includes international ports, with domestic ports contributing over 408 MMT cargo. The company has also handled its highest ever monthly cargo volumes (including international ports) of over 38 MMT in March 2024. Ten of its ports and terminals handled record cargo volumes — Mundra 180 MMT, Tuna 10 MMT, Hazira 26 MMT, Mormugao 5 MMT, Karaikal 12 MMT, Ennore 13 MMT, Kattupalli 12 MMT, Krishnapatnam 59 MMT, Gangavaram 37 MMT and Dhamra 43 MMT.

During FY24, more than one-fourth of all India cargo volumes was routed through APSEZ ports, a mark of its active role in driving India’s growth trajectory. It also shows that India’s largest port operator comfortably surpassed its cargo volume guidance of 370 MMT – 390 MMT provided at the start of the financial year. According to Karan Adani, Managing Director, APSEZ, while it took 14 years for the company to achieve the first 100 MMT of annual cargo throughput, the second and third 100 MMT throughputs were achieved in 5 years and 3 years and the latest 100 MMT mark has been achieved in less than two years.

“This is a testament to our ongoing commitment and efforts towards enhancing operational efficiencies,” said Adani. A key approach was partnerships with customers which has ensured long-term associations with key stakeholders. Supported by investment in world-class infrastructure that has delivered a high level of operating efficiency and a business model focused on providing an end-to-end solution through last mile connectivity, APSEZ has managed to successfully win customers and improve its market share.

These were achieved despite multiple challenges, such as the global trade disruptions caused by the Red Sea crisis, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and issues at the Panama Canal, and disruption of operations due to cyclone biparjoy and cyclone michaung. This year saw APSEZ achieving various new operational milestones. Its flagship port Mundra became the first in India to handle 16 MMT cargo in a single month (October 2023). Its container terminal CT-3 achieved a milestone of becoming the first in India to handle 3 million TEUs during the year and around 3 lakh TEUs in a single month (November 2023).

It berthed the largest-ever vessel at any Indian port (around 399 m-long and 54 m-wide) and handled the highest number of TEUs (16,569) on a single ship, MV MSC Livorno, surpassing the national best of 16,400 TEUs. It handled over 4,300 vessels, crossing its previous record of 3,938 vessels. In the container segment, the ports at Mundra, Hazira, Kattupalli and Ennore handled record volumes. Around 44 per cent of the containerized seaborne cargo in India moves through APSEZ ports.

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