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Introduced as early as 1853, Indian Railways has grown into one of the largest Railway network in the world. The network spread and expanded rapidly and has become the principal mode of transport in the country. The Railways have also been modernized in terms of technology, ticketing, computerization and over all management. This effort has been in tune with the requirement of moving large volumes of passengers and freight traffic.

Indian Railway network is spread over 81,511 Km covering 6,896 stations. Operating on three gauges – broad gauge (1676 mm) meter gauge (1000 mm) and narrow gauge (762 and 610 mm), trains in India carry more than 12 million passengers and more than a million tons of freight every day during the year 1998-99. Broad gauge although forming 64.5 per cent of the route, generated 96 per cent of freight output and 89.6 per cent of the passenger output during 1998-99. Almost all the double/multiple track sections and electrified routes lie on broad gauge. 14,579 route kms constituting over 19.5 per cent of the total network and 30 per cent of broad gauge network on Indian Railway is electrified. This carries approx. 41 per cent of the passenger traffic and 52 per cent of the freight traffic on Indian Railways.

Indian Railways has nearly 1,21,699 bridges of which 10799 are major bridges. In 1998-99, 384 bridges were rebuilt or rehabilitated and 270 strengthened or re-girdered. The transport effort is sustained through the use of 7429 locomotives, 2,53,186 wagons and 40,775 coaching vehicles. 1,56,846 telephone exchange lines, 18,445 long haul MT Kms., 1,730 optical fiber communication route Kms and over 8,54,613 trunk tele channels Kms distinguishes Indian Railway telecom network.

Indian Railway system has developed a capacity to carry 441.58 million tons of originating revenue earning traffic which in terms of transport output is 284.27 billion NTKms (net tonne kilometers). During 1998-99 the revenue earning freight traffic moved by Railways was 420.9 million tons growing at the rate of 7%. The total passenger traffic in the year 1998-99 was 4411 million tons.

Table:

NETWORK OF RAILWAYS- 1998-99

GAUGE ROUTE (km) RUNNING TRACK(km) TOTAL TRACK (km)

Broad 44,220 62,180 1,06,400

Meter 15,180 15,880 31,060

Narrow 3,410 3,450 6,860

TOTAL 62,810 81,510 1,44,320

Table:

ZONAL DISTRIBUTION OF ROUTE KILOMETERS

ZONES ROUTE KM.

CENTRAL 7,047

EASTERN 4,318

NORTHERN 11,004

NORTH EASTERN 5,107

NORTH EAST FRONTIER 3,816

SOUTHERN 7,049

SOUTH CENTRAL 7,203

SOUTH EASTERN 7,351

WESTERN 10,020

TOTAL 62,915

Information Technology

Information Technology Industry in India has the potential of tremendous growth as a global IT solutions provider. Increasingly, India is being regarded as the hub and the base for world-wide IT solutions development. In addition to the global market that the Indian IT industry is well placed to tap, there is also a huge market within India to transform conventional brick and mortar industry through IT solutions. Likely economic and industrial growth and a large consumer base are the additional and significant growth drivers for Indian IT industry.

Convergence of Information Technology, Communication, Entertainment, Content and Consumer Electronics and the increasing penetration of internet, PC, desktop sets, mobile phones, cable TV etc. should result in a massive surge in world-wide demand for IT solutions for internet based activities and e-commerce. India today is well placed to offer quality and competitive IT products and services.

Software industry has emerged as one of the fastest growing sectors in Indian economy with a CAGR exceeding 50% over the last five years and with a likely turnover of US $ 6 billion and exports of US $ 4 billion during 1999-2000. The government projects an export of US $ 50 billion by the year 2008 for the Indian software industry.

Hardware Industry

The IT Industry revolution in India rests on four pillars i.e., hardware, software, service and training. It is imperative that there is uniform growth in all these sectors.

According to the figures of the recently formed Ministry of Information Technology (MIT), the hardware production during the year 1999-2000 is expected to be Rs. 2000 crores. The PC production is expected to be around 4 lac units during the year against an estimated demand of 1.4 millions. The items of manufacture include personal computers, servers, workstations, super-computers, data processing equipment, and peripherals like monitors, keyboards, disk drives, printers, plotters, digitizers, SMPS, modems, networking products and add-on cards. The bulk production was in PII and PIII based PCs. Amongst the printers, Ink Jet printers have been most popular.

The Government is projecting a PC penetration from the present level of 3.43 per thousand to to 20 per thousand by the year 2008. By the year 2001, the domestic demand of PCs is expected to increase to 2 million units against 1.4 million units today. The sectors that are emerging very fast are On-line Transaction Processing (OLTP) and Small office home office (SOHO) sector.

The figures presented above are based on MIT statistics. It is not known if these figures include Grey market and assembled computers, which is fairly well established in India.

Indian Software Industry

Indian software industry has done exceedingly well during the last few years, recording an annual average growth rate of above 50%. The size of the industry is likely to grow from Rs. 15,890 crores in 1998-99 to Rs. 24,300 crores in 1999-2000. A growth of over 55 % has been recorded in software exports and is likely to be Rs. 17,000 crores during 1999-2000. Domestic software business is also witnessing significant growth from Rs. 4,900 crores in 1998-99 to Rs. 7300 crores in 1999-2000. The Indian software industry has worldwide recognition for quality IT solutions.

IT applications

Communication & Broadcasting

The thrust areas covered in this sector non-public network telecom industry, wireless communication, user specific transmission, switching and terminal equipment. The broadcasting sector broadly covers digital broadcasting of audio and video, broadband access, digital compression, digital storage and retrieval, hard disc based and optical technologies.

The production of communication and broadcasting equipment during 1999-2000 is estimated to be of the order of Rs. 4,800 crores, as compared to production of Rs. 4,400 crores in 1998-99.

With the announcement of New Telecom Policy’99 (NTP), the opportunities in the area of communicationand broadcasting are expected to grow rapidly. Internet Service Providers (ISP) licenses have been given to private sector, which will boost Internet & IT development in the country. Private investments in telecom sector in value added and basic services are being welcomed.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) have been permitted to set up international gateways and to hire bandwidth on International Satellites. This will enable the increased availability of Internet bandwidth and will facilitate Internet expansion in the country.

IT in Power & Infrastructure

IT in association with power electronics is poised to play a key role in the infrastructure industry. IT has been an integral part of the power sector. SCADA systems for control rooms and for remote control of the facilities is one of the established IT applications in the power sector. Some of the other applications include data-logging, automated controls and instrumentation and power plant simulation for training purposes

IT is used in distribution automotion, metering, billing, analysis and revenue protection in the distribution part of the power sector. With the privatisation and restructuring underway in the power sector, the potential for use of IT solutions has expanded immensely. Distribution Automation projects are being taken up in Andhra Pradesh and WBSEB. Power electronics in association with accompanying software is being used in renewable energy projects for frequency, voltage and load control as well as for the safety of the equipment. High voltage power electronics is being used for electric supply to AC drives and the grid.

One of the examples of IT and power electronics in high voltage is the HVDC link of 200MW/200KV between lower Sileru in Andhra Pradesh. Amongst the major gains in electronics and IT areas are:

? Power Electronics including Power Semi-Conductor Devices.

? State of the Art digital control system.

? System studies using computer and simulators

Transport

In transport, automated vehicle counting and traffic assessment is an activity which will be on demand with privatization progressing in the road sector. This activity will be particularly useful in assessing the viability of any toll based project and also for determining the toll structure. The system can also be used for Urban Traffic Control. Global Positioning Systems and other communication devices that can be placed in vehicles are also areas of IT applications.

Railways has been extensively using IT solutions. An intranet for northern railways has been established with linkages to all of its divisions. MIS programs using web technology have been implemented for

a) monitoring rakes & wagon positions

b) movement of essential commodities

c) monitoring passenger complaints

d) movement of trains

A “Wireless Tag & Base Station” developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has potential applications in vehicles monitoring for traffic control as well as verification in various State Government Check-posts located through out the country.

Manufacturing

There is wide applicability of IT in manufacturing including process control, machining, assembly and simulation.

Other Utilities

IT obviously has wide applicability in various utility related activities that may include automation and control, analysis, monitoring, billing etc. With several utilities planning modernization and upgradation of their systems or with privatisation, restructuring and reforms, IT is going to play an increasingly important role.

Other areas

Some of the other areas of IT applications include education, medicine, networking of universities and academic & research facilities, high performance computing, multi-lingual applications, entertainment, media, animation, rural networks, government networks, regional networks, agriculture, trading and e-commerce, engineering & material testing, computerisation of records and their analysis.

In India at present telephone density is about 1.9 per hundred population of the country which is much less compared to even some of the other developing countries of the world. With the present growth rate of about 20 per cent, by the end of 9th Plan (Year 2002), it is expected that the tele-density could reach around only three per hundred population. Since the tele-density is low, there is great potential for the growth of telephone demand with the accelerated growth of economic activities. To meet this demand, as quickly as possible, National Telecom Policy provides for private sector participation to supplement the efforts of DoT in Basic Telephone Services. Opening up of the Basic Services will be the biggest opportunity for the foreign investors.

India operates one of the largest telecom networks in Asia and the 12th largest in the world comprising of over 22,212 telephone exchanges, with a total equipped capacity of 17.74 million lines and 14.54 million working telephones. The Long Distance Transmission Network has nearly 1,65,000 route kilometres of terrestrial Microwave Radio Relay & Co-axial cables and about 96,261 route kilometres of Optical Fibre Cables. Fully automatic International Subscriber Dialling (ISD) service is available to almost all the countries. The total number of stations connected to National Subscriber Dialling (NSD) is over 16,019 and this is increasing fast. Yet the present tele-density is very low at about 1.9 per hundred persons, offering a vast scope for growth. In the field of International communications, tremendous progress was made by the use of Satellite Communication and submarine links.

The voice and non-voice telecom services include data transmission, facsimile, mobile radio, radio paging, V-SAT and leased line services to cater to variety of needs, both residential and business. A dedicated Packet Switched Public Data Network (I-NET) with international access for computer communication services is also available. ISDN service has already been introduced in the major cities. Other services like Intelligent Network (IN), Frame Relay (FR) and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) for wide band multimedia applications will be introduced in the near future.

In the field of international communications, India’s overseas service carrier Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) has made tremendous progress by using extensive infrastructure of satellite earth stations, state-of-the-art digital gateways, Optical Fibre Multi Media submarine Cables and Multi Media Data Switches. Fully automatic international subscriber dialling (ISD) service is provided to almost all the countries in the world. In future, VSNL is positioning itself to provide bandwidth on demand, Global Virtual Private Networks, ISDN, B-ISDN, VSATs, Mini-M and hand held Personal Communications.

Indian Telecommunication industry manufactures a complete range of telecommunication equipment using state-of-the-art technologies designed specially to match the diverse terrain and climatic conditions.

The technology and quality of telecom products is continuously updated through research and development activities. C-DOT – India’s premier telecom research organisation, develops advanced digital switching and transmission systems specific to the needs of the developing nations.

To attain the objective of National Telecom Policy 1994 of introducing all available Value Added Services in India to international standards and to fulfil the need of supplementing the resources to achieve the objectives, the following Value Added Services are being franchised to Indian registered companies on non-exclusive basis:

1. Cellular Mobile Telephone Services

2. Radio Paging Service

3. Mobile Radio Trunked Service

4. Electronic Mail

5. Voice-Mail/Audiotex Service

6. Videotex Service

7. Video Conferencing

8. Closed Users Group (CUG) 64 kbps Domestic Data network VSAT services via INSAT Satellite System

9. Fax/Data Broadcast Service

Cellular Mobile Telephone Services are in operation in 4 metro cities from August/September 1995 and in 17 Telecom Circles from December 1995 onwards. Paging services were first started in 27 major cities of the country from March 1995 and in some of the Telecom Circles from February 1997 onwards. The number of Cellular and paging subscribers in the country has reached a figure of approx. 0.8 million and 0.75 million respectively. 459 Licence Agreements have been signed for various Value Added Services including 41 licences for Cellualr Mobile and 137 for Radio Paging Services. E-Mail, Voice-Mail/Audiotex VSAT and Radio Trunking Services are also operational in the country by some of the licensee companies.

BASIC TELEPHONE SERVICES

Recently tenders were invited from Indian registered companies with foreign equity not exceeding 49 per cent and having an experience of operating 500,000 lines. Most of the major telecom companies in the participated in the Basic Telecom Tender after forming Joint Ventures with Indian Companies. Letters of intent have been issued to companies for six telecom Circles. For the remaining 15 telecom circles, steps are being taken. Two company have signed the licences and interconnect agreements for Gujarat and Madya Pradesh Circles.

DIGITAL SWITCHING EQUIPMENT

Digital Switching System technologies of foreign companies viz. Alcatel, Siemens, Fujitsu, AT&T, GPT, Ericsson and NEC have been validated and approved by DOT for introduction in Indian Network. In addition, the technology developed by C-DOT has also been validated. Manufacturing facilities, based on these technologies except GPT, have been set up and a capacity of about 4.0 million lines now exists in the country. With the increased investments in the Value Added Services sector, the demand for switching products such as Cellular switches, ISDN switches, gateway switches, ATM etc. is bound to grow sharply.

The passenger traffic at all airports in India is likely to almost double, according to the planning commission, from 23.40 million in 1996-97 to 40.55 million in 2001-02. Domestic passenger traffic is expected to touch 52.3 million; international traffic around 32.4 million and cargo about one million tons. The Airport authority of India (AAI) estimates that by 2012, Indian airports will handle 100 million passengers. AAI has control over 86 airports and 26 “civilian enclaves” in addition to five international airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Thiruvananthapuram. The existing aviation infrastructure can support a 20 per cent rise in passenger traffic and a 10 per cent growth in cargo. This effectively means a saturation of Indian airports over the next few years.

In India though the number of airports is more than some of the countries in the neighborhood like china, these are under utilized and under developed. Over the last 10 years, the government has invested more than US $ 315 million in the modernization of five international airports. The modernization measures include improvement in navigational equipment, upgradation of terminals and passenger support facilities.

Traffic patterns for 1996-97 show that 73 per cent of traffic is handled by the international airports, resulting in bottlenecks in the terminal buildings.

At present the government policy allows 76 per cent equity in airport projects through the automatic approval route and 100 per cent on a case to case basis. A core group has been set up by the ministry of civil aviation and it includes representatives from the IDFC and ICICI, for organizing finances for new projects. The planning commission has set a target of US $ 817.6 million for airport development during the Ninth plan period, 1997-2002. This includes an investment target of US $ 473.57 million for developing international airports with the emphasis on capacity, demand and augmentation of passenger terminals at the five international airports. The planning commission lays emphasis on capacity augmentation at the terminals in Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram in view of the growth in traffic. The ministry has identified 28 unused airports to be offered to state governments on very attractive terms. These include:

Hasan and Mysore in Karnataka

Khandwa, Panna, Bilaspur and Satna in Madhya Pradesh

Vellore in Tamil Nadu

Jhansi and Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh

Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu

The AAI, till the year 2002 has projected funds requirement of US $ 831 million for airport infrastructure. These funds are meant for:

New terminal buildings at Delhi and Mumbai (US $ 237.4 million )

Cargo complexes at international airports (US $ 35.7 million ) Runways and taxiways at

airports other than international (US $ 83.3 million )

New communication/navigation equipment (US $ 166.6 million )

These investments of AAI are in addition to the expected investment of US $ 2.3 billion in each of the two major airport projects at Bangalore and Mumbai

Navigational Systems

Fingers were pointed towards the adequacy of modern navigational systems at Indian airports after the Charkhi-Dadri mid-air collision in 1996. Nearly US $ 1.2 billion have to be injected till the year 2010 for navigational equipment and navigational programme.

The passenger traffic at all airports in India is likely to almost double, according to the planning commission, from 23.40 million in 1996-97 to 40.55 million in 2001-02. Domestic passenger traffic is expected to touch 52.3 million; international traffic around 32.4 million and cargo about one million tons. The Airport authority of India (AAI) estimates that by 2012, Indian airports will handle 100 million passengers. AAI has control over 86 airports and 26 “civilian enclaves” in addition to five international airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Thiruvananthapuram. The existing aviation infrastructure can support a 20 per cent rise in passenger traffic and a 10 per cent growth in cargo. This effectively means a saturation of Indian airports over the next few years.

In India though the number of airports is more than some of the countries in the neighborhood like china, these are under utilized and under developed. Over the last 10 years, the government has invested more than US $ 315 million in the modernization of five international airports. The modernization measures include improvement in navigational equipment, upgradation of terminals and passenger support facilities.

Traffic patterns for 1996-97 show that 73 per cent of traffic is handled by the international airports, resulting in bottlenecks in the terminal buildings.

At present the government policy allows 76 per cent equity in airport projects through the automatic approval route and 100 per cent on a case to case basis. A core group has been set up by the ministry of civil aviation and it includes representatives from the IDFC and ICICI, for organizing finances for new projects. The planning commission has set a target of US $ 817.6 million for airport development during the Ninth plan period, 1997-2002. This includes an investment target of US $ 473.57 million for developing international airports with the emphasis on capacity, demand and augmentation of passenger terminals at the five international airports. The planning commission lays emphasis on capacity augmentation at the terminals in Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram in view of the growth in traffic. The ministry has identified 28 unused airports to be offered to state governments on very attractive terms. These include:

Hasan and Mysore in Karnataka

Khandwa, Panna, Bilaspur and Satna in Madhya Pradesh

Vellore in Tamil Nadu

Jhansi and Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh

Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu

The AAI, till the year 2002 has projected funds requirement of US $ 831 million for airport infrastructure. These funds are meant for:

New terminal buildings at Delhi and Mumbai (US $ 237.4 million )

Cargo complexes at international airports (US $ 35.7 million ) Runways and taxiways at

airports other than international (US $ 83.3 million )

New communication/navigation equipment (US $ 166.6 million )

These investments of AAI are in addition to the expected investment of US $ 2.3 billion in each of the two major airport projects at Bangalore and Mumbai

Navigational Systems

Fingers were pointed towards the adequacy of modern navigational systems at Indian airports after the Charkhi-Dadri mid-air collision in 1996. Nearly US $ 1.2 billion have to be injected till the year 2010 for navigational equipment and navigational programme.

Convergence: a paradigm shift

Technology, market access and the changing industry structures are driving a worldwide phenomenon, which is now known as convergence. Convergence is happening across a wide spectrum of industries, technologies and markets. On the one hand we have digital convergence and on the other hand convergence in industry structures, media and infrastructure. Some of the examples of Convergence are:

 Transformation of Television into a web enabled device and Internet access through Cables.

 Convergence of media & publishing with Internet.

 Use power distribution lines for telephony and Internet access either through a technology that carries information over electricity lines or optical fibbers laid along the distribution line to provide the last mile connectivity.

 Use of water pipelines for Internet access.

 Use of the “right of way” associated with long distance power transmission lines, pipelines and railways to lay optical fibber networks over large geographical regions to create the backbone for telephony, internet and multimedia

 Transformation of mobile phone into a web enabled device that can access Internet.

 Companies entering seemingly unrelated areas such as power distribution, Internet access and water distribution due to the synergies in operating, maintaining and managing these activities.

 Digital Convergence: Voice and Video over Internet.

 Backward or forward integration of the industries is also being regarded as convergence. Therefore, if an organization was primarily into gas supply, it may enter power generation and subsequently power distribution and even Internet.

A major transformation is taking place in industry structures with multinational organizations like Enron, which were primarily energy companies, entering into water, Internet and power generation.

There are far-reaching implications associated with these developments. For example, in India water supply in urban areas has remained in the hands of Municipal Corporations or Water Works departments who have to generally supply water at subsidized rate. Often these activities are not viable and have to be supported by the government. However, these corporations and govt. agencies can now leverage on the pipeline infrastructure that they own and that provides them access to individual households to supply Internet access and water. Services like water distribution and power distribution that have not been viable in most of the emerging markets may become viable due to the convergence phenomenon.

Major developments are taking place in India. The Reliance group, one of the largest industrial groups in India, has decided to lay optical fibber network across the country. The Tata group and Enron are also planning similar activities while the power distribution utility in Mumbai; BSES has already gone ahead laying optical fibbers along the distribution lines. There are also plans to lay major pipelines criss-crossing the nation, which will also be used as backbone for Internet and telephony. The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and the Railways are planning to lay optical fibbers power transmission lines and railways tracks respectively.


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