The Daily Fix

‘Don’t confuse development with elitism’: 10 reads from Left & Right on bullet trains and Japan

Praise and criticism for the high-speed rail project which is being built with Japanese credit and expertise.

Japan President Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday pushed a button to lay the foundation stone for a landmark bullet train project, set to be built between Mumbai and Ahmedabad over the next five years. The train forms the centre-piece of a growing relationship between India and Japan, at a time when common worries about an expansionist China are pushing the two countries closer to each other. Yet, coming at a cost of more than Rs 1 lakh crore, it has also sparked much criticism in a country where derailments on much slower trains are depressingly routine.

Abe’s visit to India came with much fanfare, just three years after a similar reception was laid out for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also got to tour Ahmedabad with Modi. The interim period has seen tensions with Beijing spoke, prompting New Delhi to look to Tokyo for both defence cooperation as well as trade deals.

Commentary from the Left, Right – and even an Op-Ed from Abe himself – looked at the nature of this relationship, and what the bullet train means for India.

  1. When the first Rajdhani left Delhi for Howrah in 1969, it too was branded “elitist” and a luxury for a poor country, writes Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman of Feedback Infra Pvt Ltd, in the Indian Express. “We should be careful not to confuse leapfrogging technology development with elitism – whether it is mobile phones, satellite launches, regional air-connectivity or high-speed rail.” 
  2. G Raghuram, director of the IIM-Bangalore, says in Mint the ground-breaking project is indeed a “great beginning for India,” but also points out five challenges that the country will need to overcome if the bullet train project is to be successful, including land acquisition and route design. 
  3. “This could be India’s bhaagta hai moment. So, let’s finally say sayonara to chalta hai,” writes Ravneet Gill, CEO of Deutsche Bank AG India in the Times of India. 
  4. Pallavi Aiyar, a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum, says in the Hindu that the bullet train project is both a geostrategic and business coup for Japan, which has struggled to sell its high-speed rail technology overseas. 
  5. “In areas where Japan has put up the [High Speed Rail], local government revenue receipts have grown at almost twice the rate compared to areas which do not have HSR connectivity,” writes Aashish Chandrokar, a management consultant, in Hindu Businessline. “If this trend works in India, it will be a boon because Palghar, Daman and Valsad are relatively less developed.”  
  6. “India’s rail system may not be that fast or rival that of China’s, but the government’s move to attempt to build such a system makes sense,” writes Leslie D’Monte, tech editor of Mint. 
  7. “There will be a very sharp learning curve but its impact will not just be on railways but in India’s industrial economy as a whole,” writes former foreign secretary Shyam Saran in the Hindustan Times. “With proper planning, it may help create an entire new ecosystem of high performance in the country.” 
  8. “Modi and Abe have certainly raised the expectations for a potential alliance between Delhi and Tokyo. But they can’t afford to fall short on implementation amidst the current geopolitical churn in Asia,” writes C Raja Mohan, the director of Carnegie India in Indian Express. 
  9. “What holds well today, may not hold good tomorrow,” writes Narayan Krishnamurthy, editor of Outlook Money. “There is every bit of possibility that there may not be a pressing need to travel between destinations that the bullet train is planned to service... In the absence of drastic measures, the bullet train will be one more project which will have everything interesting going for it, but may not find enough takers.” 
  10. “In 2022 when the Mumbai-Ahmedabad line opens, it must become an inflexion point not just for that one line and those two cities but for transport and transport infrastructure in that region and, subsequently, all over India,” writes journalist Sidin Vadakut in Mint.  
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900

Fashion

If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.