Modi’s vision for India is endangered by its Victorian railway system

From Nuno Gil, Professor of New Infrastructure Development, Manchester Business School, UK

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Sir, To turn India into a global manufacturing hub, Narendra Modi’s challenge goes well beyond fixing the tax regime and scrapping outmoded laws (“Modi faces an uphill battle his in mission to see India rival China”, Inside Business, December 31). The backbone of India’s ambition to become a manufacturing hub on par with China is a modern railway infrastructure. And on this account, the future looks grim.

Completing India’s flagship infrastructure project — the development of a national railway network linking all first-tier cities and dedicated to freight, so-called Golden Quadrilateral — seems unachievable this century. Hence India is stuck with congested Victorian railways and clogged highways.

Without adequate transport capacity, the whole vision — to resolve India’s energy problems, to create new cities, and to lift millions out of poverty — falls apart.

Mr Modi started his term by scrapping the benign but toothless Planning Commission. A bold gesture. But nothing has yet transpired about what he plans to do with the Ministry of Railways, arguably the mother of all problems. The world waits.

Nuno Gil

Professor of New Infrastructure Development,

Manchester Business School, UK

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