Stressing how quality infrastructure could fast-track the country’s development and economic competitiveness and lamenting the ‘waste’ of resources over the years in the absence of a holistic and well-coordinated approach to this vital element of nation-building, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a National Master Plan for ‘multi-modal connectivity’, and called it PM Gati Shakti.
The new initiative is a GIS-based platform with as many as 600 layers, capturing all utilities and network linkages in various economic clusters. Ambitious targets have been set under the plan for capacity addition in various infrastructure sectors for 2024-25 (see chart).
The new plan will complement the Rs 111-lakh-crore National Infrastructure Pipeline and multiple efforts to generate resources for it, including the National Monetisation Pipeline and the development finance institution (DFI) being operationalised.
Gati Shakti will help cut logistic costs, increase cargo handling capacity at ports and reduce the turnaround time, Modi said here, addressing a gathering after inaugurating a New Exhibition Complex at Pragati Maidan. The idea is to lend more power and speed to projects by connecting all concerned departments on one platform, he said.
He added that the infrastructure schemes of various ministries and state governments would be designed and executed with a common vision.
Gati Shakti would join different departments for the coordinated development of projects from road to railways, aviation to agriculture, the prime minister said. This, he said, will give a boost to India as an investment destination. “Just as JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) trinity revolutionised the access of government facilities to the people , PM Gati Shakti will do the same for the field of infrastructure,” Modi said.
Modi said taxpayers’ money in the past was ‘insulted’ through a lethargic approach to development work, with departments working in silos and lack of coordination on projects. He claimed his government was focused on completing infrastructure projects within the stipulated time frame or even ahead of time.
High logistics cost in India at 13% of GDP was impacting competitiveness in exports, he noted. This, he said, will give a boost to India as an investment destination.
“It is globally accepted that the creation of quality infrastructure for Sustainable Development is a proven way, which gives rise to many economic activities and creates employment on a large scale,” the prime minister said. He added 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 are leading to hampered construction and wastage of budget.”
The National Master Plan would address this issue and would lead to optimum utilisation of resources.
Industry welcome the new initiative. Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said: “This programme leverages the power of digitization, it uses multi-layered geo-spatial information to generate real-time dashboards, MRS reports and 3D images. I cannot think of any other government programme, anywhere in the world of such a large scale and technology to enable real-time monitoring of large-scale development projects.”
Noted infrastructure expert Vinayak Chatterjee called it “a high-tech approach to integrated infrastructure planning.”
“The Gati Shakti vision would underscore the primacy of place accorded by the Prime Minister to develop world class infrastructure facilities which is crucial to improve business sentiment and speed up the country’s vision to emerge as a $5-trillion economy in near future,” TV Narendran, president, Confederation of Indian Industry, said.