In a mega boost to mobility, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved eBus and railway projects worth over ₹90,000 crore. Also, in order to push the digital ecosystem, another project of around ₹15,000 crore got approval.

Transportation projects included over ₹57,000 crore PM-eBus Sewa with a fleet of 10,000 buses and seven multi-tracking projects of around ₹32,500 crore from Indian Railways. While the bus project is expected to generate employment for 45,000 personnel, the railway projects are likely to create over about 7.06 crore man-days during construction.

E Bus

“PM-eBus Sewa seeks to enhance green mobility. It will augment bus services in 100 cities under which priority will be given to cities having no organised bus service,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said, giving details of the decisions taken by Cabinet and Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

The Minister said that the scheme will cover cities having a population between 3 lakh and 40 lakh. “Cities having a population of less than 5 lakh will get 50 buses, those with a 5-20 lakh population will get 100 buses, and cities with a population of 20-40 lakh will get 150 buses,” Thakur said. The scheme will be operational under the public-private partnership model.

“The scheme would have an estimated cost of ₹57,613 crore, out of which support of ₹20,000 crore will be provided by the Central government and the remaining by State governments. The scheme will support bus operations for 10 years,” Thakur said.

Railway Infrastructure

CCEA gave its nod to seven projects of enhancing capacity to operate passenger and freight trains.

“The proposed projects, which will be fully funded by the Centre, will help increase the existing line capacity, smoothen train operations, reduce congestion, and facilitate ease of travelling and transportation,” Railway Minister Ashwini Vaisnaw said.

The projects cover 35 districts in nine States — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. These are expected to expand the existing network of the Indian Railways by 2,339 km. The projects include doubling of the existing line between Gorakhpur-Cantt-Valmiki Nagar, the Son Nagar-Andal Multi tracking Project, the third line between Nergundi-Barang and Khurda Road-Vizianagaram, between Mudkhed-Medchal and Mahbubnagar-Dhone, doubling of existing line between Guntur-Bibinagar, doubling of existing line between Chopan-Chunar, and the quadrupling between Samakhiali-Gandhidham.

Extension of Digital India

Vaishnaw also informed that the extension of the Digital India programme aims to boost digital initiatives in skilling, cyber security, high-performance computing, and simplifying technology for the people. Around ₹15,000 crore is to be spent in a five-year period between 2021-22 and 2025-26. The extended Digital India programme will add to the work done under the previous version of the scheme.

Under the scheme, the Digilocker app will be extended to micro, small, and medium enterprises to help them avail credit and other services by verifying their document stores in the app. About 6.25 lakh IT professionals are expected to be reskilled and upskilled, and 2.65 lakh personnel will be trained in information security under the Information Security and Education Awareness Phase (ISEA) programme.

The Minister said cyber awareness courses for 12 crore college students will be conducted under the Digital India programme. “CertIn, which does cyber forensics, emergency response, and cyber diagnosis will be expanded massively,” Vaishnaw said.