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Explained | Why PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan is crucial for infrastructure push

Launching the Gati Shakti initiative, PM Modi said that due to the wide gap between macro planning and micro implementation, problems of lack of coordination, lack of advance information, thinking and working in silos were leading to hampered construction and wastage of budget.

October 13, 2021 / 07:13 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

On October 13, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the PM Gati Shakti, a ‘national masterplan’ for multi-modal connectivity, and probably one of his most ambitious initiatives, as the prime minister seeks to end decades of bureaucratic entanglements and working in silos when it comes to infrastructure projects.

The Gati Shakti masterplan will use geo-mapping and real-time data in one centralised portal to ensure that key departments and states have visibility over major projects being planned, especially the ones which have multi-sectoral and multi-regional reach.

Sixteen central government departments, including Railways, Roads and Highways, Petroleum and Gas, Power, Telecom, Shipping, Aviation and others will be part of this initiative.

“One of the biggest bottlenecks was multiplicity of approvals and delayed clearances which this initiative will overcome. Its multiplier effects would lead to faster implementation of projects and keep costs under control. The government has shown remarkable foresight in implementing this initiative which is as transformative to the infrastructure sector as liberalisation was in the nineties,” said Himanshu Chaturvedi, Chief Strategy Officer, Tata Projects Ltd.

The government says that the plan will include all existing and planned initiatives of various ministries and departments in one centralised portal. “Each and every department will now have visibility of each other’s activities providing critical data while planning and execution of projects in a comprehensive manner. Through this, different departments will be able to prioritise their projects through cross–sectoral interactions,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Why the need for Gati Shakti?

Launching the Gati Shakti initiative, Modi said that due to the wide gap between macro planning and micro implementation, problems of lack of coordination, lack of advance information, thinking and working in silos were leading to hampered construction and wastage of budget.

Giving a very basic example, the PM said: “There is a new good quality road constructed by one department, and a few days later another department digs that very road to lay water pipelines. Such lack of coordination needs to end.”

Individual ministries and departments often work in silos and there is lack of coordination in planning and implementation of the project resulting in delays. “PM GatiShakti will help in synchronising the activities of each department, as well as of different layers of governance, in a holistic manner by ensuring coordination,” the PMO said.

While the government has not said it explicitly, it is apparent that most of the mega projects under the Rs 110 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline will be monitored under Gati Shakti.

“Gati Shakti will incorporate the infrastructure schemes of various Union ministries and state governments — Bharatmala, Sagarmala, UDAN, inland waterways, dry/land ports etc. The plan will also ensure quick completion of works with cost efficiency. The idea is to get all relevant stakeholders aligned for creating the right size infrastructure at a suitable location expeditiously,” said Rajeev Vijay, Executive Director, Government and Infrastructure Advisory at Knight Frank India.

Vijay said that the master plan is expected to transform the infrastructure sector and provide integrated, seamless, timely delivery of projects within budgeted costs without any costs of delays and cost overruns due to multiple changes and will further motivate private companies to associate with government projects and boost the Indian economy.

Targets Under Gati Shakti

A massive infrastructure push has been one of the Modi government’s key initiatives in the second term, and Gati Shakti takes that forward.

The plan includes 11 industrial corridors, achieving a Rs 1.7 lakh crore turnover in defence production and having 38 electronics manufacturing clusters and 109 pharma clusters by 2024-25.

The national master plan fixes targets up to 2024-25 for all infrastructure ministries. Like for the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, the target is having National Highways of 2 lakh km, completion of four or six-lane national highways of 5,590 km along coastal areas and all state capitals in north-east to be connected with four-lane national highways or two two-lane national highways.

For Railways, the target by 2024-25 is to handle cargo of 1,600 million tonnes from 1,210 million tonnes in 2020, decongesting 51 percent of the Railway network by completing additional lines and implementation of two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs).

In Civil Aviation, the target is to double the existing aviation footprint to have a total of 220 airports, heliports and water aerodromes by 2025 which would mean building additional 109 such facilities by then. In Shipping, the national masterplan says the target by 2024-25 is to have total cargo capacity to be handled at the ports at 1,759 MMTPA from 1,282 MMTPA in 2020.

The gas pipeline network in the country is aimed to be doubled to 34,500 km by 2024-25 by building an additional 17,000 km long trunk pipeline connecting major demand and supply centres for industries, as per the plan. In Power lines, the total transmission network by 2024-25 is targeted to be 4.52 lakh circuit km and the renewable energy capacity will be increased to 225 GW from 87.7 GW presently.

“With 11 industrial and two defence corridors, this scheme will hugely benefit our MSME sector in becoming a part of high-speed growth of our economy. This scheme will not only ensure a widespread reach of basic amenities to the remotest areas of our country but will also significantly enhance business opportunities for inclusive growth. We are creating a closely-knit high-speed growth environment for the citizens of India.” Suraj Nangia, Partner at Nangia Andersen.
Arup Roychoudhury