Inland waterways have largely been neglected as a viable means of transport for carrying goods and people. Discuss the challenges in the development of inland waterways in India. Examine the steps taken by the government in this direction?

Demand of the question Introduction: Briefly about Inland waterways in India. Body: The challenges in the development of Inland waterways. The steps taken by the government in this direction Conclusion: As per the context. India has nearly 14,500 km of navigable waterways, yet inland water transport (IWT) accounts for less than 1 % of its freight traffic, compared with ~35 % in Bangladesh and ~20 % in Germany. This underutilization prevails despite IWT’s better cost arithmetic and materially less polluting nature.


1. Cost estimation: In respect to operating costs per ton-km, IWT has lower cost than rail and road transport. However, this cost argument is challenged as a road travels straight while rivers bend and curve; therefore, the difference between freight costs for IWT and road/ railways is not much and there is cost of loading and unloading freight.

2. Inadequate depth: To be viable for a navigable inland waterway, river needs enough depth throughout the year However, in their natural state; many Indian rivers simply do not have that level of water which will necessitate extensive dredging. Moreover, Indian rivers (especially rivers in the northern plains) face severe problems of siltation round the year

3. Impact on other activities: Water in rivers has competing demands, including dams and farming. To maintain the water levels in the river to the degree needed for them to function as inland waterways, the water use for such other activities might get curbed.

4. Inadequate Air Draft: Multiple bridges with low vertical clearance obstruct the passage of bigger inland water transport vessels on many inland waterways such as NW 3.

5. Lack of night navigation infrastructure: Rudimentary night navigational facilities and markings are also a major issue.

6. Shortage of IWT vessels: Vessel building is highly capital intensive and faces difficulties in obtaining project finance from banks and financial institutions

7. Shortage of MRO facilities: There is a severe shortage of MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) facilities for IWT vessels.

8. Inadequate industries: Inadequate number of Industrial units on the riverside, especially not along the Brahmaputra is a major discouragement hindering development of inland waterways. At National Policy Dialogue on transboundary cooperation related to the Ganga and the Brahmaputra rivers – states, it was highlighted that due to inadequate industrial units result in no cargo commitments by the private players.

9. Lack of funds: Dredging as well as infrastructure for IWT requires huge investments. However, both public and private funding in the sector is low

10. Environmental Impact: Dredging operations will damage the river bed, and can lead to change in habitat for various aquatic flora and fauna. Dredging may also impact aquifers along the river, damaging the ability of water to percolate underground.


1. Jal Marg Vikas Project: Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) aims at capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 (NW-1). The project is being implemented by GOI with technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank.

2. Sagarmala Project: Along with development of coastal shipping routes, the project seeks to inland waterways to drive industrial development. It aims to reduce the logistics costs by doubling the share of domestic waterways in the modal mix from current 6 % (PIB).

3. Interlinking of Rivers Programme: The project is expected to offer potential benefits to the transport sector through navigation.

4. National Waterways Act came into effect in 2016. It proposed 106 additional National Waterways and merges 5 existing Acts which were declared the 5 National Waterways.Out of the 111 National Waterways declared under the National Waterways Act, 2016, 13 are operational for shipping and navigation and cargo/passenger vessels are moving on them

5. In 1986, the Government of India created Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for regulation and development of Inland Waterways for navigation and shipping.

A holistic and concerted effort can change India’s transportation landscape, decongest arterial roads, and even improve the quality of life across geographies. In undertaking this paradigm shift towards inland water transport, India should implement the sustainability practices and use a consultative, interdisciplinary approach, as opposed to a techno-centric one, to keep the negative consequences to a minimum.


2.India is going to face an increasing demand for energy as it grows. Evaluate the significance of renewable energy in achieving energy security with special emphasis on solar power.
Demand of the question Introduction:

Some factual data on the growing demand of energy. Body: The significance of renewable energy in achieving energy security with special emphasis on solar power Conclusion: As per the context.

India is expected to be one of the fastest growing economies of the world in the near future. With the population anticipated to grow in the future and improvements in socioeconomic developments, energy demand is expected to rise consequently and is expected to be the second-largest contributor to the increase in global energy demand by 2035, accounting for 18% of the rise in global energy consumption.

1. India’s population and economic growth, combined with accelerating urbanisation, is expected to increase the number of people living in cities and towns from approximately 435 million in 2015 to 600 million by 2030. In addition, estimates suggest that 80 million households — roughly 300 million people — have limited or no access to electricity. Renewables can improve energy access for poor communities and bolster energy security through diversified, and largely indigenous, sources of supply.

2. Furthermore, renewable energy technologies would lower the demand for coal and oil products between 17% and 23% by 2030, bringing down the oil imports and providing energy security.

3. Renewable energy can assist in guiding the country’s energy policy in a way that is both economically and environmentally attractive thus enhancing energy security.

4. The growth of renewable energy has changed the energy business in India. It has, in many ways, democratised energy production and consumption in the country. Before the renewable sector became a significant player, the energy business was all about fossil fuel-based big companies and grid-connected power—they dominate even today. But today there is an alternate energy market in which thousands of small companies, NGOs and social businesses are involved in selling renewable energy products and generating and distributing renewables-based energy.

5. Energy alternatives such as gas, fossil fuels etc. collectively pose a risk for power plant operators, along with end users, with their price volatility. Thus there is a need to reach a point where India’s need for energy can be satiated using renewable energy sources. 6. While oil and gas sources are limited to certain regions of the world, renewable energy is available everywhere and is domestic. Not only does it offer security of energy supply but also reduces dependence on imported sources.

7. Renewable energy can play a significant role in our energy needs by replacing foreign energy imports with domestically produced electricity that adds to the country’s economy.

8. Increasing renewable energy deployment could save the economy twelve times more than its costs by the year 2030, creating jobs, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and ensuring cleaner air and water, with savings on health-related costs.

India’s current installed solar power capacity, according to Central electricity authority, is 26025.97 MW which is 34% of total renewable energy sources i.e, 75055.92 MW till February 2019. Being a tropical country, India must utilise this inexhaustible resource to its fullest possible extent.

The abundance of solar radiance across India makes it a feasible component of energy mix. With an average solar energy potential of about 5 kilowatt hour per square meter, India has a large potential to secure its energy needs with appropriate policy initiatives and commercial incentives.

2. Because of the constraints faced by large hydropower (due to social resistance) and biomass (due to competing demand from food production), policy initiatives have mainly focused on expanding solar power generation for meeting growing energy demands. 3. The technical potential of solar energy is enormous. For instance, Gujarat’s contribution in solar power is significant with a currently installed capacity of 852 MW, about two thirds of India’s total installed solar power capacity. Gujarat hosts an integrated solar park, which is currently the second largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power station in the world, with a power generation capacity of 600 MW covering 3000 acres in Charanka village.

4. The initiatives worldwide is expected to bring down the costs of solar energy production to USD 50-60 per MWh by 2020, which translate to INR 3 to 4 per kilowatt hour. At this threshold, solar energy could easily compete with most other current energy sources without subsidies.

5. The sector also has immense potential to create new jobs; 1 GW of Solar manufacturing facility generates approximately 4000 direct and indirect jobs. In addition, solar deployment, operation and maintenance creates additional recurring jobs in the sector.

6. The solar projects are entitled to benefits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and can earn carbon credits and generate additional revenue using the power generated.

7. There is potential for enhancing the share of solar energy in meeting India’s growing energy demands. There is ample room for experimentation, and for taking advantage of the learning curve to make solar energy initiatives to progressively yield better outcomes.
With various factors giving the renewable energy segment a push, India now has a great opportunity ahead to secure its energy needs. Contributing factors like supportive government policies, coupled with incentives and infrastructure and investment promotions should be taken, to serve the social and economic growth of the country through renewable energies.

3.How are the principles followed by NITI Aayog different from those followed by the erstwhile planning commission in India?

Demand of the question:
Introduction: Briefly explain Niti Aayog and the Planning Commission in the introduction.
Body: Highlight the differences in principles which are followed by both the bodies.
Conclusion: Conclude suitably highlighting the activist role of Niti Aayog.
Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) is the successor in interest to the Planning Commission. It was established in 2015 and is one of Indian democracy’s youngest institutions. It was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet i.e. through executive resolution and the Prime Minister is the Chairman of Niti Aayog like its predecessor.
The Planning Commission was established in March 1950 by a Government of India resolution with Prime Minister as Chairperson.
● Planning Commission’s initial mandate was to establish heavy industries through public investment as a means for achieving rapid industrialization.
● Its functions were to assess and allocate plan resources, formulate plans and programs for area development, identify resource constraints and appraise & adjust implementation.
● From 1950 to 2014 the Planning Commission formulated twelve five year plans.

Cooperative federalism: Niti Aayog works on the principle of true cooperative federalism wherein states are given equal role in policy formulation and review.
Dictated federalism: The working of PC had drawn criticism for its dictated federalism wherein states had a miniscule role in central policy formulation.
Bottom-up approach: It follows a bottom up approach as it supports formulation of plans at the village level and aggregates them at higher levels of government.
Top-down approach: Plans were prepared at the central level and delegated to lower levels with minimum participation of states and local bodies.
Concurrent accountability: It has infused the culture and norm of instant accountability of government systems by establishing a Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office which collects data on the performance of various Ministries on a real-time basis. The data are then used at the highest policy making levels to establish accountability and improve performance.
Post-mortem accountability: The Five-Year Plans were mostly evaluated long after the plan period had ended. Hence, there was no real accountability.
Competitive federalism: It is focused on infusing a healthy and competitive spirit among states. It has come up with performance-based rankings of States across various verticals to foster a spirit of competitive federalism. Best practices in different States in various sectors are replicated and promoted in other States.
Worked in silos: PC usually worked in silos wherein each state functioned independently and there was limited cross-vertical synergy among states.
Oriented to the market economy: Its functioning is more market oriented and seeks to achieve efficiency in administration which is highlighted by ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’ objective of the government and is also highlighted by the fast pace of disinvestments recommended by the body as per market needs.
Eccentric with market economy: Planning exercise hardly had any relevance for the market economy. Planning of public sector investments and its role in public–private partnerships were restrictive. The mere focus on Centrally Sponsored Schemes was inimical to a market economy principle.
Atypical approach: NITI Aayog is based on a distinctive approach and forges a better match between schemes and needs of States.
One size fits all approach: PC was based on a uniform approach in which states had little freedom to chart their own plans.
Change agent: It acts as a funnel through which new and innovative ideas come from all possible sources — industry, academia, civil society or foreign specialists and are shared with the Central and State governments This pushes their frontiers and ensures that there is no inertia.
Status quoist: Indian bureaucracy, under PC, was mired with problems like of inefficiency and apathy and one of the reasons behind this is that no one at the top ever questioned this.
Niti Aayog has been hailed as the prime government think tank which is dedicated at policy formulation in a fast, competitive and interconnected world. But a keen evaluation of its role highlights that it is not just a think tank but rather an ‘action tank’ which goes beyond the policy formulation stage and proactively engages with includes implementation, review and evaluation of executive’s functioning.


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