There has been some criticism of the government’s plan to invest in high speed railway (HSR). Discuss the demerits and merits of HSR.

There has been some criticism of the government’s plan to invest in high speed railway (HSR). Discuss the demerits and merits of HSR.

Approach:

  • Introduce with the HSR project that was launched
  • Highlight the demerits
  • Enumerate the merits
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

In 2017, foundation stone was laid for the ambitious Rs 1 lakh crore Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Union Railway Ministry have inked a MoU for the 508-km corridor. However, it led to criticism from some quarters in light of the high expenditure.

Demerits of High Speed Railway:

  1. The huge financial expenditure can further strain the country’s limited resources, which can invested in sectors like health and education.
  2. India may not be ready as it is still in a learning phase in terms of safe operation of its present trains. We need to first ensure that we have build proper managerial capacity and accident free running of the trains before jumping to the next level.

Merits of High Speed Railway:

  1. More intensive urbanisation as well as rising incomes would lead to higher travel propensity.
  2. They have the highest safety standards as can be seen from the fact that Japan had no accidents in decades.
  3. With the average operating speeds of around 250 km/h, HSR helps bring settlements 500 km apart within two hours of each other.
  4. The financing for the project is mostly by Japan on highly favourable terms with low interest rates and great leeway in repayment.
  5. The technology transfer envisaged in this project will benefit Indian Railways, and boost the Make in India initiative.
  6. High-speed electric trains are energy-efficient and environment friendly, and only emits an eight and a fifth of carbon dioxide as against automobiles and airplanes per passenger km, respectively.
  7. HSR can been a catalyst for economic growth, a stimulus for the development of satellite towns, helping alleviate migration to metropolises, as seen in Japan.

A nation of India’s size, potential and aspirations has to acquire the best technologies in line with the high ambition and willpower of “New India.” Such technologies can also have a great downstream impact, as seen when India adapted to technological advances like computers and smart phones.

Subjects : Editorials

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