3 May 2024 : Daily Answer Writing

Q1) Discuss the role of infrastructure development in driving socio-economic change. How can the need of efficiency be matched with the concerns for safety?

(250 Words/15 Marks)

Infrastructure is the set of physical and digital facilities which are vital for the growth and development of the country.

Investment in infrastructure is a driver for socio-economic change:

  1. Limiting the rural to urban migration:
  2. a) Infrastructure development ensures enhanced employment opportunities, health and education facilities in rural areas.
  3. b) By augmenting irrigation and food processing facilities, it will help in increasing farmer’s income.
  4. Multiplier effect:
  5. a) Infrastructure development has a multiplier effect on trade and commerce.

E.g., creation of ports, dedicated freight corridors etc., can substantially reduce the logistics costs.

  1. b) Development of IT infrastructure is vital for transition to 4th Industrial Revolution.

E.g., Need for fiberization for the successful roll out of 5G; Bharat 6G alliance (target of 10% 6G IPR from India by 2030).

  1. Quality of life:
  2. a) Highly congested, unaffordable, and poorly accessible urban transport affects the quality of life in urban areas. Transport infrastructure can ensure availability of safe and affordable public transport.
  3. b) Robust public transport network can also improve/reduce carbon footprints of the Indian cities.
  4. c) Improved digital/physical connectivity can make hinterlands more resilient to socioeconomic shocks like pandemic; can improve business linkages even in tier2-3 cities.
  5. Developmental indicators:
  6. a) Access to safe drinking water (Jal Jeevan Mission) can reduce recurring occurrence of water borne diseases.
  7. b) Human dignity and welfare of vulnerable sections.

E.g., Improving sanitation/hygiene conditions in slums and providing housing for all.

  1. c) Empowerment of marginals.

E.g., enhancing clean energy access will help improve condition of women, reducing the need to use firewood, a major cause of indoor air pollution.

 

Even though infrastructure development drives socio-economic change, However, the need for efficiency should be matched with the concerns of safety:

  1. In light of increasing cyber-attacks, security of digital infrastructure is of paramount importance.

E.g., protecting electricity grids from cyber-attacks emanating from inimical neighbors.

  1. Timely assessment of failures and rectification of faults should be integral to infrastructure development process as a continuum.

E.g., As per a report of parliamentary standing committee, there is an inordinate delay by the railway board in submitting Action-Taken Report (ATR) after accidents.

  1. Separate budget for risk mitigation and adaptation should be earmarked during the planning process of the infrastructure projects.

E.g., Rail Sanrakshana kosh.

  1. Vacancies should be timely filled so that workers are not overburdened and administration/maintenance of infrastructure facilities is carried out seamlessly.
  2. Social audits/safety review of infrastructure projects should be made compulsory.

E.g., absence of modern signaling led to Balasore train accident; six sigma frameworks for minimization of errors.

  1. Innovative ways should be devised to incentivize high safety ratings.

E.g., access to funds at concessional rates for high safety ratings.

 

Infrastructure is the back bone of the country, and need to be built in a time-bound manner; however, the considerations of safety should be prioritized at all the three stages viz. before, during, and after the construction of the infrastructure. Recommendations of Kakodkar committee such as an advanced signaling system should be pro-actively implemented.



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