NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Friday announced a new scheme to build 1,000 modern resting facilities for truck and cab drivers on national highways in line with the government’s ease of living policy.
Highlighting hardships faced by drivers while on long-distance journeys, he said under the first phase, 1,000 modern buildings with facilities for food, clean drinking water, toilets, parking and rest will be developed for drivers on all national highways. He was speaking at Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024 at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi.
“The government understands the concern of truck drivers and their families,” he said adding that the scheme will give a boost to both the ease of living and ease of traveling for truck and taxi drivers, thereby improving their health and also help in preventing accidents.
According to a report of the NITI Aayog, trucks carry a bulk of India’s goods meeting 70% of domestic freight demand. “And as road freight travel continues to grow, the number of trucks is expected to more than quadruple, from 4 million in 2022 to roughly 17 million trucks by 2050,” the report ‘Transforming Trucking in India’, published in September 2022 said. Long-haul truck drivers need proper sleep and naps to remain alert while on road to avoid accidents. Sleep deprivation is one of the key reasons for road accidents.
PM Modi said the Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024 had brought the entire mobility and supply chain community on a single platform. Reiterating the goal of Viksit Bharat by 2047, the Prime Minister underlined the pivotal role of the mobility sector. “India is on the move and is moving fast,” he said highlighting the opportunities it would create for the mobility sector.
He said the Indian economy was expanding at a fast pace and India is set to become the third-largest economy in the world during his government’s third term. He said as approximately 250 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the last 10 years, they are the new customers of various modes of transport. When a citizen breaks out of poverty, the means of transportation be it a cycle, two-wheeler or a four-wheeler, becomes their first requirement, he said emphasising on the emergence of a neo-middle class.
Growing income of the middle class will give strength to the mobility sector of India, he said. “The numbers of growing economy and the growing income are bound to infuse new confidence in the mobility sector”, he added. He said the number of cars sold in India rose from 120 million to more than 210 million from the 10 years before 2014 to after 2014, while the number of electric cars sold in India rose from 2,000 per year about 10 years ago to 12 lakh per year today.
PM Modi also said the National Electric Mobility Mission is pushing manufacturing of Electric Vehicles. The government has invested ₹10,000 crore for creating demand for electric vehicles and the FAME scheme has led to electric buses in the capital as well as in many other cities, he said.
Modi said that a fund allocation of ₹1 lakh crore has been made in this year’s budget to encourage research and innovation and also mentioned the decision to further expand the tax exemptions given to startups. “These decisions will create new opportunities in the mobility sector,” he said. Touching upon the most significant challenges of cost and battery in the EV industry, the PM recommended using these funds in its research.