Cabinet clears 7 railway projects to add 2,339 km to existing network

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has cleared seven railway projects with an estimated cost of Rs 32,500 crore, which will add 2,339 km to the existing network covering states namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha and Gujarat.

The projects, which include upgradation of the existing railway lines including their quadrupling and doubling, will facilitate capacity generation for movement of 120 million tonnes of extra cargo and will also help travel of migrant workers and students, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

The projects will receive 100 per cent funding from the Central government and connect major industrial and commercial hubs of the country.

They will help increase the existing line capacity, smoothen train operations, reduce congestion and facilitate ease of travelling and transportation, the minister said.

Aiming to improve mobility in tier II and tier III cities, the Union Cabinet also cleared the PM e-Bus Sewa scheme, under which 10,000 new electric buses will be provided to 100 cities across the country at a cost of Rs 57,613 crore.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said that of 169 cities, 100 cities will be shortlisted, and 10,000 electric buses will be provided to them.

The amount of Rs 57,613 crore will be provided till 2037, of which Rs 20,000 will be provided by the Centre while the remaining amount will have to be generated by states, Thakur said.

As many cities lack proper public transport, the scheme will help improve connectivity as well as promote green mobility, the minister informed further.

Therefore, priority will be given to cities having no organised bus service, and the scheme is expected to generate 45,000 to 55,000 direct jobs, the minister said.

Under the scheme, buses will be provided through public private partnership (PPP) mode and it will continue till 2037. The scheme will cover cities having 3 lakh and above population. 

All capital cities of the north-east region, union territories and hill states will be included.


Cabinet okays expansion of Digital India programme

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has approved the expansion of the Digital India programme with an outlay of Rs 14,903 crore. 

Minister for Railway, Electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw, while addressing a press conference after the meeting of the Union Cabinet, said that 6.25 lakh IT professionals will be re-skilled and up-skilled under FutureSkills Prime programme. 

The Digital India programme was first launched in 2015 by the Centre and now under its ambit, 2.65 lakh people will be trained in information security under the information security and education awareness phase programme. 

Also 540 additional services will be made available on the UMANG platform, the minister further said. 

Vaishnaw said that nine supercomputers will be added under the National SuperComputer Mission. 

Bhashini, the Artificial Intelligence enabled multi-language translation tool (currently available in 10 languages) will be rolled out in all 22 Schedule VIII languages. 

Also, modernisation of the National Knowledge Network which connects 1,787 education institutions, will be done, the minister said. 

Digital document verification facility under DigiLocker will be made available to MSMEs and other organisations. In tier II and III cities, 1,200 startups will be supported under the Digital India scheme, he said.

Image courtesy of File photo

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