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Economic Survey 2012-13: Energy, Infrastructure and Communications

Mar 14, 2013 13:17 IST

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on 27 February presented the Economic Survey 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha of the Parliament.

The Twelfth Five Year Plan laid special emphasis on development of the infrastructure sector including energy. The total investment in the infrastructure sector during the Twelfth Five Year Plan, estimated at 56.3 lakh crore Rupees which is nearly double that made during the Eleventh Five Year Plan. Unbundling of infrastructure projects, public private partnerships (PPP), and more transparent regulatory mechanisms have induced private investors to increase their participation in infrastructure sectors.

Their share in infrastructure investment increased from 22 per cent in the Tenth Five Year Plan to 38 per cent in the Eleventh Plan and is expected to be about 48 per cent during the Twelfth Five Year Plan.

Production of coal, cement, petroleum refinery was marginally higher during the 2012-2013 fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of the 2011-2012 fiscal year while steel and power-sector production was comparatively lower.
 
Fertilizer, crude oil, and natural gas production also declined during the first nine months of 2012-2013 financial year. Among the infrastructure services, growth in freight traffic by railways has been comparatively higher so far, while the civil aviation sector and cargo handled at major ports have witnessed negative growth.

In the road sector the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) achieved 17.3 percent growth during the 2012-2013 financial year upto November 2012.

Major sector-wise performance of core industries and infrastructure services displayed a mixed yet there continued to be an overall energy deficit of 8.7 percent and peak shortage of 9.0 percent.

The government took several initiatives for rationalizing the energy prices in different sectors. The Integrated Energy Policy has outlined the broad contours of the pricing system for coal. The pricing of coal is done now on gross calorific value (GCV) basis with effect from 31 January 2012, replacing the earlier system of pricing on the basis of useful heat value (UHV) which takes into account the heat trapped in ash content also, besides the heat value of carbon content.

In context with the petroleum products pricing, in January 2013, the government announced the new roadmap providing for a gradual price increase for reducing diesel under-recoveries.

Dedicated Freight Corridor Project: The Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) are a mega rail transport project being undertaken to increase transportation capacity, reduce unit costs of transportation, and improve service quality. A special purpose vehicle, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited has been set up to implement the project.

The NHAI Board gave approval for formation of a High Level Expert Settlement Advisory Committee for one-time settlement of old cases pending in courts.

As a new initiative for promoting highway development, the mode of engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contracts were brought in.

In order to remove the bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic and collection of toll as per the notified rates, the government decided to introduce passive radio frequency identification (RFID) based on electronic toll collection.

The Government approved National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012, which addresses the vision, strategic direction, and the various medium- and long-term issues related to the telecom sector, on 31 May 2012. NTP-2012 is aimed at maximizing public good by making affordable, reliable, and secure telecommunication and broadband services available across the country.

By end December 2012 there were over 900 PPP projects (Pubic-Private Partnership projects) in the infrastructure sector with total project cost (TPC) of 543045 crore Rupees as compared to over 600 projects with TPC of 333083 crore Rupees on 31 March 2010.

The government in September 2012 approved the scheme for Financial Restructuring of State Distribution Companies (Discoms).

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Read more Current Affairs on: Economic Survey , Economic Survey: 2012-13

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