Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed an agreement with the Government of India to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of Japanese ¥10,453 million (approximately Rs 600 crore) for the development of a first-of-its-kind Training Institute at Vadodara, Gujarat, for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project. The ODA loan conditions are concessional, ie 0.1 per cent interest rate for both project activities and consulting services, and 50 years of repayment period (including 15 years of grace period). The institute will assist smooth set-up and safe operations of the MAHSR in India. The institute is being developed to generate efficient workforce, equipped with high level knowledge of the technology and operations of high speed railways.
The ODA loan agreement was signed between Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office and S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office, says, “The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway is being implemented on the lines of the Japanese bullet train Shinkansen system. With the introduction of Shinkansen in India, safe, timely, and reliable operation is expected to play a crucial role for socio-economic revolution for India. Further, it is expected that the economies of the western coasts of Gujarat and Maharashtra would be boosted. The institute will play a pivotal role in securing the human resources to operate and maintain the MAHSR, becoming the hub of knowledge, technology as well as skilled engineers and operators who are at the core of excellent service quality.”
The state-of-the-art building and facilities are expected to include the Administration & Training Building, Hostel and Training Facilities and Equipment. The trainees will be imparted knowledge of new Japanese technologies which will be implemented in the MAHSR, and these trainers will be the pioneers of high speed railway technology education in India. Facilities and equipment that will enable the trainees to learn the mechanisms related to non-ballast track system (slab track), electric power, signals and communications, etc.
The project will be implemented by National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL).
Among the several high speed rail corridors planned and announced by the Government of India, the MAHSR is the first sanctioned project connecting the capital cities of Maharashtra and Gujarat. According to the Joint Feasibility Study on MAHSR, also conducted by JICA on the Japanese side, the travel demand is expected to further increase due to availability of a faster transport system. The reduction of the travel times between these cities would improve the mobility, increase interaction between people and expand the regional exchange of knowledge and professional services, thereby increasing opportunities for both cultural and consumer activities. Also, it would promote development of the areas around stations. For MAHSR, JICA has been supporting the project through follow-up studies, grant assistance for GC, training courses in Japan for the staff of MHSRCL and so on.
Since 1998-99, JICA has provided an assistance of Japanese ¥31 billion, approximately Rs 1,800 crore, (ODA loan: Japanese ¥23 billion, Grant Aid: Japanese ¥7.8 billion) for the human resource development in India. JICA is also focussing on the development of facilities for higher education and development of human resources to propel the manufacturing sector in India. JICA has been extending ODA loan and technical cooperation synergistically for development of the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IITH), as a hub of academic and industrial collaboration between India and Japan. JICA’s ‘Visionary Leaders for Manufacturing (VLFM) Project’ implemented from 2007 to 2013 and succeeding ‘Champions for Societal Manufacturing (CSM) Project’ has aimed at creating visionary leaders in the manufacturing sector in India.