Niti Aayog clears six proposals for high-tech public transport

Why in news ? 

Niti Aayog cleared half-a-dozen proposals of the transport ministry exploring options to improve public transport.

Approval of Niti Aayog to experiment and introduce six latest mass rapid transportation technologies. These technologies include metrino, stadler buses, hyperloop, pod taxis, hybrid buses and freight rail road.

How it helpful in transport?

Mass rapid transportation technologies such as hyperloop, metrino and pod taxis couldpg-15-1 soon be a reality. Approved the proposals of the transport ministry with a condition that the ministry conducts trial run of all these technologies and puts in place safety measures before starting commercially operation. India don’t have any such thing, need to know the global safety standards and ensure that these technology companies are following it.

Need for new technology

The new technologies are being explored as current public transportation is unable to resolve the increasing traffic crisis in the country. Besides, some of them are more cost effective than the existing ones. Metrino (pod taxis) is almost one tenth of the cost of the metro, so there’s a cost advantage as well.

Source : Economic Times

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Cabinet approves SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program

In News

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur.

  • The project will improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of the state.
  • Project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program. 
  • It aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.
  • The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India’s Gateway to the East.
  • Trade, commerce and tourism in the region will get a boost.

Need for development in Manipur

  • Manipur being a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain
  • It has only road transport as a means of mass transport system within the state.
  • Development of the road infrastructure is of paramount importance to improve connectivity and progress of the State and to ensure that the administrative set up reaches the isolated and remote habitats.

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)

  • SASEC brings Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri -Lanka in a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries, and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • Program set up in 2001, SASEC countries have implemented 46 regional projects worth over $9 billion in the energy, transport, trade facilitation, economic corridor development, and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.
  • The Manila, Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as the Secretariat for the SASEC member countries.

Source : Pib

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MERIT app launched by power ministry

In News

Indian electricity distribution companies (discoms) struggling with huge debts can together expect to save up to Rs 20,000 crore per annum with better scheduling of power, through an app developed by the government that provides information on sourcing cheaper electricity.


  • Merit Order Dispatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency (MERIT) have been developed by the power ministry in association with POSOCO and Central Electricity Authority.
  • Mobile application facilitating flexible coal swap between state-run and private plants and aweb portal to make electricity purchase by states transparent.
  • States have been found to be flouting merit order of electricity dispatch giving flimsy and extraneous reasons.
  • After the launch of the Merit app states will have to explain reasons for deviating from merit order scheduling.
  • Displays information regarding the merit order of electricity procured by states, such as daily state-wise marginal variable costs of all generators, daily source-wise power purchases with source-wise fixed and variable costs, energy volumes and purchase prices.
  • It also gives information regarding reasons for deviation from merit order, which will help state discoms to optimise their power procurement in more efficient way, leading to lower cost of power to consumers.

Source : Economic Times

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POSOCO-IMD Weather Portal for Power Sector & Web Portal ‘MERIT’

Union Ministry for Power, Coal , New & Renewable Energy and Mines launched Weather Portal for Power Sector in association with POSOCO and IMD at the meeting of the Forum of Regulators here today .

Need for the initiative

Weather variations have an impact on load demand and energy production, transport and distribution management, as well as energy prices. Extreme events such as heat waves or cold waves, wind storms or floods can of course have dramatic consequences on the production means or the electrical grid of a country including physical damage to the infrastructure.

Information from the portal

Regional Weather Summary : This provides Weather Outlook for the Region for the current day and upto next 7 days. Weather stations of Meteorological department have been mapped to the nearest important Electrical Station/ Power Stations in each State.

  • Nowcast : It is used to forecast weather for a short period ahead, updated every 3 hours
  • Weather Forecast : It is provided for the current day and next 6 days
  • Weather Warning : Special Nowcast warning is issued for the next 3 hours.

Radar : The Doppler Weather Radar generates different displays and derived products of practical utility based on standard algorithms. These displays are updated every 10 minutes.

Satellite Images : INSAT 3D is being used to monitor the Weather of Indian Origin. The image is updated every 30 minutes.

Meteogram : The Meteogram at Web-Portal provides plots for Meteorological variables such as Rainfall, Cloud Cover, Temperature, Humidity, Wind, Speed, Sea Level Pressure, Indices for Thunderstorm etc. for 10 days with a resolution time of three hours. Each Meteogram provides information for the 10 km radius.

Region Specific Forecast : Fog Forecast, Metar, Bay Bulletin, Coastal Area Bulletin, Cyclone, Port Warning etc.

‘MERIT’ (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency)

  • Developed by Ministry of Power in association with POSOCO and Central Electricity Authority.
  • The MERIT Web portal displays information regarding the merit order of Electricity procured by State(s)  such as daily state-wise marginal variable costs of all generators, daily source-wise power purchases of respective states/UTs with source-wise fixed and variable costs, energy volumes and purchase prices.
  • The web-portal also give information regarding reasons for deviation from merit order such as must run conditions, transmission constraints etc.

Source : Pib

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc


Cabinet approves new coal allocation policy for power sector

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), approved a new transparent coal allocation policy for the power sector called Shakti or Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating ‘Koyala’ (Coal) Transparently in India-2017. This will ensure the rights of coal supplies for Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) holders and signing of FSA with Letter of Assurance (LoA) holders.

Importance of SHAKTI

  • Thermal Power Plant (TPP) having LoA shall be eligible to sign FSA after ensuring that the plants are commissioned, respective milestones met, all specified conditions of the LoA.
  • The new policy will lead to gradual phasing out of the old one.
  • The policy aimed to ensure coal availability at all power plants and reduce dependence on imports of the dry fuel.
  • It will also help revive the stressed assets in the power sector and expected to bring 30,000 MW of locked capacity into generation.
  • Policy covers coal-based plants that are under-construction or are going to be constructed, provided these units are commissioned by March 31, 2022.
  • Power generation companies belonging to the Centre and the states will not be part of the policy.

Need for the Scheme

The coal supply to the TPPs has been made as per the provisions of the New Coal Distribution Policy (NCDP), 2007. Till 2010, CIL had issued LoA for approximately 1,08,000 MW capacity and no new LoAs were issued thereafter due to the prevailing scarcity scenario. The coal availability scenario has, now, emerged from scarcity to adequacy. In this adequate coal availability scenario, the present policy proposes a fading away of the old linkage allocation policy and emergence of a new linkage allocation policy based on transparent and objective criteria for the optimal utilisation of the natural resources.


Cabinet nod for 10 indigenous nuclear reactors

Union Cabinet cleared the proposal to construct 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors (PHWR)with a total capacity of 7,000 MWe. The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity.

Need for Indigenous Reactors

Troubles for India’s international collaborations in nuclear projects. U.S. deal, involving Toshiba Westinghouse for six reactors in Andhra Pradesh, is floundering after Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The deal with French company Areva for reactors in Jaitapur remain in negotiations over costing.

Key Facts

  • First of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in homegrown initiative.
  • 10 plants would create Rs. 70,000 crore worth of business for domestic manufacturers.
  • It would be one of the flagship Make in India projects in this sector.
  • It will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-art technology with highest safety.


  • The project will help transform Indian nuclear industry by linking our goal of a strong nuclear power sector with our indigenous industrial capacities in high-end technologies.
  • It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment.
  • Aims to prioritise the use of clean power in India’s energy production.
  • The project supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change.

Current Capacity of India

India has current installed nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come on stream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction. India generated 37,674 million units of nuclear energy in 2016-17, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.

Source : The Hindu

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Indo-Bangla bridge connectivity

Tripura government has commenced the land acquisition process for the construction of India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge.

About the Project

  • India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge constructed over river Feni that demarcates boundaries between the two countries in south Tripura.
  • The process for acquiring land for a four-lane approach road and a connecting road on Indian side in southern Tripura has also begun.
  • the construction of the 150-metre bridge which will connect Sabroom of India and Ramgarh in Bangladesh.
  • The bridge would facilitate implementation of a protocol India earlier signed with Bangladesh to use Chittagong sea port as a ‘port of call’.
  • The port is 72 kilometre away from Sabroom.
  • India is also expanding rail network up to Sabroom to handle cargo consignments that would arrivefrom Chittagong port.
  • Ultimate connectivity plan is to benefit Tripura and other landlocked northeastern States with international and domestic shipments using the sea port.

Feni River

  • River in the Indian state of Tripura and southeastern Bangladesh.
  • It is a trans-boundary river with an ongoing dispute about water rights.
  • The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh.

Source : The Hindu

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Underwater tunnels to connect Howrah with Kolkata

howrah to kolkattaThe construction of the first underwater metro tunnel in the country cutting deep inside the bed of the Hooghly river. By the end of July, two tunnels running parallel will connect the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata located on either side of the Hooghly. The construction is a first in India, the two 520-metre structures are part of a 10.8 km underground stretch and are crucial to the East West Metro project

About the Tunnel

howrah tunnel

  • The tunnels are being dug at a depth of 30 metres below the earth’s surface and 13 metres below the riverbed.
  • The twin tunnels, about 520 metres long, are crucial to the much-awaited ₹ 8,900 core East West Metro project that will connect Salt Lake Sector V in the eastern part of Kolkata to the Howrah Maidan across the river.
  • The diameter of the two tunnels running across the river is 5.5 metres and the distance between the two tunnels will vary at different places.

Concern over heritage site

  • Three heritage buildings in Kolkata and the existing rules, construction and mining operations are prohibited within 100 meters of protected monuments.
  • over the concern of Archaeological Survey of India, an expert committee from the Indian Institute of Technology found no adverse affect on the protected monuments.

Source : The Hindu

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World Bank loan for National Waterway-1 on Ganga

The World Bank has approved a loan of $375 million for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1 (NW-1) on the river Ganga under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).

Key Facts

  • The financial assistance from the World Bank would help to develop the Rs 5,369-crore NW-1 from Haldia to Varanasi.
  • The project will enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 deadweight tonnes along a 1,390-km stretch.

Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)

  • It involves developing a 1,620-km navigable waterway between Haldia and Varanasi.It involves developing a 1,620-km navigable waterway between Haldia and Varanasi.
  • This will enable commercial navigation of at least 1,500-tonne vessels.
  • The project will be completed over six years at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,200 crore.
  • NW-1 is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, serving the cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Patna, Howrah, Haldia and Kolkata, and their industrial hinterland including several industries located in the Ganga basin.
  • The rail and road corridors in this region are already saturated.
  • The project entails the construction of terminals and development of ferry services.
  • Inland Waterways Authority of India will set up a River Information Service System (like air-traffic control for airways) on NW-1, the first of its kind in India.

Source : Live Mint

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Common duct policy

The with a new policy under which a common duct will be laid across a city and service providers such as telcos and digital TV players can lease these ducts to pass their fibre through it to offer services to consumers.

About the policy

  • The common duct policy for which Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is carrying out pilots in Deoghar in Jharkhand.
  • This could reduce operational cost of firms, remove right of way challenges, while eliminating the need for frequent digging up of roads.
  • This will also result in additional revenue for the municipalities and remove issues related to right of way.
  • A common duct will be created for about 20 years.
  • Once the duct is made, no service provider will be allowed to dig the road.
  • By May end, would put the entire program under close observation for six months.
  • Based on the learning from the pilot success would recommend the government a similar initiative to replicate in tier-II and tier-III cities.

Advantage of policy

  • Policy will allow the telecom service providers to share infrastructure.
  • Could reduce telcos operational cost and mitigate RoW (right of way) challenges.
  • The initiative, according to the regulator, will allow infrastructure providers to deploy a common terminal or box for optic fibre and digital TV cable with an objective to mitigate RoW issues.
  • This will avoid great inconvenience to the people of the city as Telecom and TV companieshave to dig up the road every time a fibre is laid.

Source : The Hindu

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