Infrastructure

Infrastructure Definition

The word infrastructure means basic and physical structures which constitute the landscape of an area. Broadly, infrastructure is defined by the physical structures such as buildings and roads which compose our living spaces, offices, cities and many other places. Good infrastructure generally results in the smoother operation of a community, be it your home or your whole city. 

The need and meaning of infrastructure can be better understood when we look at it from the developmental perspective of a nation. Modern spaces and livelihood depend a lot on infrastructure. The basic infrastructure of a country says a lot about its social and economic status and hence, better infrastructure stimulates growth and prosperity of a nation.

Types of Infrastructure

There are many types of infrastructure which we see in our daily lives. Some of these types include:

  1. Economic Infrastructure

The infrastructure which directly affects the economic development of a country is known as economic infrastructure. Superior economic infrastructure generally results in a more flourishing and free-flowing economy such as better movement of raw materials and improved cash flow.

Some examples of economic infrastructure are set-ups for communication, power generation and transportation. 

  1. Social Infrastructure

Infrastructure which directly helps in improving the social standards of living and also indirectly contributes to the overall development of a country is called social infrastructure.

A typical example of social infrastructure is a sound education system. A developed and modernised education system is destined to make students better. Not only that, but students from well-rounded education systems also go on to do better jobs or engage themselves in profitable businesses, thus helping to improve the national economy. 

Now that you are well-versed with the various infrastructure types, it’s time to revise your concepts with the following quiz.

Quiz 1

  1. ___________ infrastructure directly helps in improving the social standards of living.

    1. Economic infrastructure

    2. Social infrastructure

    3. Both (a) and (b)

    4. None of the above

Why Does a Country or State Need Proper Infrastructure?

The very definition of infrastructure underlies the fact that it is vital for the overall growth and development of a nation. Without it, the economy as we know it is bound to crash, or at least, not show massive growth in leaps and bounds.

The finance, well-being, literacy rate and the industrial economy is heavily dependent on infrastructure. For industries to function efficiently, and yield fruitful results, the infrastructure must complement the requirements of the particular industry.

The infrastructure of a country contributes to its economic development in the following ways:

  • Enhances the ability to work

  • Increases productivity

  • Generates more linkages in production

  • Brings in more investments

  • Improves the size of markets

  • Attracts more F.D.I

  • Enhances outsourcing opportunities

As mentioned in the above section, infrastructure is extremely crucial for the economy of a country. For countries like India, it greatly upends the agricultural sector and makes way for increased agrarian produce.

Here are some ways in which modern day infrastructure and technologies help improve the country’s agricultural operations:

  1. Farm and dairy products that are often perishable and need preserving rely heavily on equipment like cold storage spaces.

  2. A significant section of our fruits and vegetables tend to be exported, and because of  their low shelf-life, having high-end, upgraded transport and storage facilities becomes all the more essential.

  3. To make sure that the agricultural produce reaches markets, we need to have proper roads and highways in place. It helps connect farmlands with markets and urban living areas.

The Following Table Illustrates the State of Rural Infrastructure in India:

RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN INDIA

Heavily Reliant on Bio-Fuel

Almost No Access to Clean Drinking Water

Absence of Proper Sanitation Amenities

Lack of Electricity Connections

Rural families in India still use bio-fuel such as crop-residues, methane gas and cow-dung to cook food.

Only 24% of rural families have access to clean drinking water

Proper sanitation facilities are almost absent in rural areas

According to the 2001 census, only around 56% of rural families had electricity connections

The majority of rural households, almost around 90 per cent employ bio-fuels for cooking.

The gaping majority use open sources of water, for instance, water from tube wells

According to NSSO, only 6% of rural areas have access to proper sanitation facilities

The rest use kerosene.

What is the future of Infrastructure in India?

According to a World Bank report in 2014, India was well-set to become the third-largest economy in terms of purchasing power in the world. But to ensure reaching that goal, the state of infrastructure in India will have to improve drastically. 

To ensure the creation of more economic corridors in India, the government has created multiple Special Economic zones or SEZs. Such zones comprise places in India with the most economic potential, where foreign investments can be made, and investors and companies are given free rein to conduct business operations. SEZs are vital for the growth of a country’s GDP, and it is important for the country to substantially improve its infrastructure to attract more FDI to its shores.

The various infrastructure examples in India that if improved, can greatly improve the state of things include roads, highways, technological spaces such as IT parks, seaports and harbours, cold storages, railways and warehouses.

Let’s go back to some key concepts by carrying out the following activity:

Task for you:

  1. Go online and search Google for the various types of infrastructure found in India and the world, and how are they beneficial.

  2. Look up the meanings of terms such as Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), Build Operate Transfer (BOT), and Private Public Partnership (PPP).

  3. Find and list out all the SEZs in India and find out about their infrastructure and machinery in detail.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Meaning of Infrastructure?

Ans. The word infrastructure means basic and physical structures which constitute the landscape of an area. Broadly, infrastructure is defined by the concrete physical structures such as buildings and roads which compose our living spaces, offices, cities and many other places.

2. What are the Types of Infrastructure?

Ans. The two types of infrastructure are social and economic infrastructure.

3. What are Special Economic Zones in India?

Ans. Special Economic Zones or SEZs comprise places in India with the most economic potential, where foreign investments can be made, and investors and companies are given free rein to conduct business operations. SEZs are vital for the growth of a country’s GDP, and it is important for the country to substantially improve its infrastructure to attract more FDI to its shores.