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PM Modi to launch GatiShakti infra master plan to overhaul ‘sarkari’ work culture

With the launch of the GatiShakti-National Master Plan platform on Wednesday, PM Modi is set to take a big shot at dismantling the silos in which various government departments have traditionally been working in India.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to take a big shot at dismantling the silos in which various government departments have traditionally been working in India, leading to delayed project implementation, higher costs and below-par benefits for the public.

PM Modi will launch the GatiShakti platform on Wednesday. GatiShakti, which literally means the power of speed, is the Modi government’s ambitious comprehensive geospatial digital platform that promises “integrated planning and coordinated execution”. Government sources say it will usher in a new paradigm initially in projects planned by the Centre and later it is expected to trickle down to the municipal level.

Top sources in the government said that a cabinet note on the GatiShakti platform to be launched by the PM on October 13 is ready and the proposal may get the cabinet’s nod as early as Tuesday evening.

In 2014, at the start of his first term, PM Modi had created the concept of “super ministers” by allocating each cabinet member several ministries which do similar kinds of work to generate better synergy. But to beat the compartmentalised bureaucratic system he has pushed for the Gati Shakti proposal to ensure that all mega-infrastructure and connectivity targets should be completed by 2024-25.

The plot has political strings attached as the big-ticket infrastructure projects completed due to GatiShakti could be a crucial component of PM Modi’s campaign for a third straight term for power in 2024.

In simple terms, the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for multi-modal connectivity is an attempt to overhaul the “Sarkari work culture” in which the right hand of the government doesn’t know what the left is doing.

The concept involves a central National Master Plan for providing multimodal connectivity infrastructure to various Economic Zones.

GatiShakti, once launched, will have a comprehensive infrastructure plan depicting economic zones and the infrastructure linkages required to support them with a special focus on multi-modal connectivity.

It includes projects related to national highways, freight hauled by railways, gas pipelines, airports and aviation, manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and electronics items, food processing, defence production, and industrial corridors.

Initially, 16 departments that deal with infrastructure projects or have been identified as economic drivers have come on board. The centre has already written to all states and UTs to join the platform and many states have already responded positively as they feel that the multi-layered platform with 3D visualisation of the plot level mapping would help create cost-effective and user-friendly infrastructure. Once on stream, the platform has the potential to bring greater synergy between scores of projects handled by central ministries and states.

A senior commerce and industry ministry official said, “It will enhance prioritization, optimization and synchronization. It is mandated to resolve issues of disjointed planning, lack of standardization, issues of clearances and timely creation and optimal utilization of capacities.”

GATISHAKTI AND TECHNOLOGY

The GatiShakti platform uses powerful technologies like Geographic Information System based Enterprise Resource Planning with 200+ layers of evidence-based decision making, planning tools for route planning, dashboard based periodic monitoring and use for latest satellite imagery.

It has been developed by BISAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics). It also uses satellite imagery available from ISRO and base maps from the Survey of India. The Government says the visualisation of BISAG maps will be available to people at large including the private sector, thus bringing inefficiency.

The senior official explained, “In simple terms, the 200 layers means different GIS or Geographical Information System layers, each showing railway, road, irrigation, telecom, gas pipelines, rivers, mountains or others. There would be layers on environmentally sensitive zones, forests and green cover etc. the analytical tools built into the platform will warn project planners about the kind of permissions which would be required. This means plans can either be drawn in a way to avoid a multitude of permissions that delay projects or be minimised.”

Sources say that the GIS mapping provides physical geographical features, district administrative offices, gas lines, roads, schools and other educational institutions health facilities and police establishments.

A digital system is an overarching software where individual Ministries will be given separate user identification (login ids) to update their data on a periodic basis. The data of all the individual Ministries will be integrated into one platform which will be available for planning, review and monitoring by the Network Planning Group. The Logistics Division, Ministry of Commerce will further assist all the stakeholders through BISAG- N for creating and updating their required layers in the system and update their database through Application Programming Interface (APIs).

In order to minimize disruptions and to have better cost efficiencies, the need to synchronise the activities relating to greenfield roads, rail, etc and laying of utilities like OFC cables, gas lines, electricity in an area by effectively coordinating between central agencies, state agencies, ULBs, private sector, parastatals etc has been factored in.

Further, in select geographical areas, a single nodal agency may be responsible for undertaking the efforts of synchronisation and undertake all relevant activities including common tendering where feasible. The plan lays down a framework for the Ministries to engage in this direction.

Government sources say that the National Master Plan has been prepared as an integrated plan depicting the economic zones and the multimodal connectivity infrastructure with an objective to holistically integrate the interventions of various Ministries/Departments and address missing gaps to ensure seamless movement of people, goods & services to minimise disruptions, ensuring quick completion of works with cost-efficiency.

The platform will guide all the Departments/ Ministries responsible for the creation of economic zones and connectivity infrastructure. Individual projects of different line Ministries would be examined and sanctioned in future within the parameters/prescribed norms of the overall National Master Plan leading to synchronisation of efforts.

Citing an example, the official explained, “This actually had happened. Once a large port became operational it was found that the road connecting it to the six-lane highway barely a few km away was too narrow. The movement of cargo was terribly slowed down because of that gap between the two large infrastructure projects. It took a long time and additional expenses to upgrade the connectivity.”

At the heart of GatiShakti, the National Master Plan has all the existing and planned economic zones and the multimodal connectivity infrastructure has been mapped on a single platform that spans across three fiscals — from when PM Modi took charge 2014-15, the year GatiShakti was conceptualised 2020-21 and the culmination of current master plan 2024-25. The mapping also provides a macro and micro view of existing and developing infrastructure in form of layers that depict completion timelines.

To improve the participation of states the centre plans a national level conference on October 13 at the same venue. Also, virtual links have been created at 36 locations in the country for the launch programme.

HOW GATISHAKTI WILL WORK

To execute GatiShakti, there will be an Integrated Multimodal Network Planning Group or NPG which will be entrusted with unified planning and integration of proposals as well as connectivity projects which are not part of the current master plan with estimated cost of over Rs 500 crore.

The National Networking Group will consist of experts or officials from the stakeholder departments. The Department of Promotion of industry and Internal Trade will be the nodal agency. The group will be responsible for sharing their specific Action Plans for 2020-21 to 2024-25 with each other for facilitating the integration of networks, enhance optimisation through modification/expansion/new network creation to avoid duplication of works for holistic development of any region as well as reducing logistics costs through micro-plan detailing.

This group shall, after examining all the interventions proposed to be taken by various Ministries, delineate all projects where synchronisation of efforts are required and propose any changes in the National Master Plan for consideration and approval of the Empowered Group of Secretaries. This Group will meet at least once a month to have regular and intensive coordination to avoid Ministries working in silos and at their own pace.

There would also be an Empowered Group of secretaries headed by the Cabinet secretary that would make the decisions on projects and synergies in terms of changes to be made to the master plan as and when needed. The EGoS will also look at the interventions required to meet the demand side, inefficiently transporting bulk goods based on the requirements of various Ministries like Steel, Coal, Fertilizer etc.

The Empowered Group will comprise of the Chairman, Railway Board, Secretaries of Ministry of Road, Transport & Highways, Ministry of Ports, Shipping& Waterways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Ministry of Power, Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Coal, Ministry of Mine, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Ministry of Steel, Department of Expenditure, and Special Secretary, Logistics Division, Department of Commerce (Member Convenor).

The Empowered Group has been mentioned in the cabinet note accessed by India Today TV.

The satellite mapping would provide a decision assist mechanism in form of ways to reduce permissions and clearances required for projects. It would also carry out a Gap Analysis or a link between two projects.

A senior official said, “till now two standalone projects had no link. There would be a gap say a road connecting two large highways. There used to be public petitions demanding a link. The system used to wake up to these demands and after delays involving clearance and sanctioning of funds to projects used to get connected. This will bring a tectonic shift in conceptualisation.”

The funding route will remain the same. Projects below certain benchmarks will be cleared by the respective departments, the mid-band projects will be cleared by the finance ministry and high-value projects will go to the cabinet. However, what will change is the planning and execution.

Sources said that once the platform is in place for further streamlining the development of infrastructure a National Logistics Policy will be brought in.

THE MAGNITUDE OF IMPACT

The cabinet note’s backgrounder explains the depth and breadth of the impact of the platform.

For example, it talks about an increase in the aviation footprint through Regional Connectivity Scheme i.e., UDAN by increasing the total no. of Airports/ Heliports/ Water Aerodromes to 220 by 2024-25. This includes having 109 additional airports. This will involve the development of 51 existing airstrips in the country, 18 greenfield projects, 12 water aerodromes and 28 heliports.

Till 2014, NHAI was operating 91,000 km of national highways. By November, it’s expected to touch 1.3 lakh km. This network is set to expand to 2 lakh km by 2024-25. Then there is a proposal for developing almost 6000 km of four- or six-lane national highways along coastal regions and connecting every northeastern state capital with four-lane highways.

The PM GatiShakti National Masterplan for the economic zones ministries includes a big push in defence production. There are plans afoot to develop two Defence Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu with an expected cumulative investment of Rs 20,000 crore. The assessment is that these will help India ramp up its defence production turnover to Rs 1.7 lakh crore with one-fourth of it going for exports.

Similarly, GatiShakti will oversee upgrading the cargo handling capability of railways to 1600 MT by 2024-25 in comparison to a little over 1200 MT currently. The implementation of two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) and project reports as a first step to construct 4,000 km of East-West, North-South and East Coast freight corridors all will be worked out through the platform.

The Centre plans to double the network of gas pipelines in the country to 34,500 km by 2024-25. This will involve connecting major centres of demand and supply with almost 17000 km of trunk pipeline. A senior petroleum ministry official said,” GatiShakti will play a major role in the government’s plans to connect every Indian state by 2027 with the Natural Gas Pipeline to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and reduce pollution.

In shipping, PM’s constituency Varanasi and the river Ganga figure prominently. The government plans to move 95 MMT of cargo on inland waterways and 29 MMT on river Ganga with round the year ferrying of vessels between Varanasi in UP and Sadiya in Tinsukia district. For seaports, the national master plan’s target is to handle 1,759 MMT per annum by 2024-25.

The master plan also includes target by Telecommunications department of 35 lakh km of Optical Fibre Network by 2024, power ministry raising transmission network to 4.52 lakh circuit km, food processing industry’s plan for nearly 200 Mega Food Parks, fishing clusters increased to 202, 38 electronics clusters by with turnover of Rs 15 Lakh crore, 90 textile clusters and pharma and medical device clusters touching 110.

The master plan has a proposal for building four Industrial Nodes. An official in DPIIT said, “Connectivity is the key. For example, one industrial node will come up in Dadri. That is because the Amritsar to Kolkata and Kashmir to Mumbai corridors have a junction at Dadri in UP. Similarly, there is one each in Tumkur in Karnataka and Shendra Bidkin in Maharashtra.”

Under the National Industrial Corridor Development Programme, 11 industrial corridors are being taken up for development by 2024-25. These are – Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC), Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC), East Coast Industrial Corridor (ECIC) with Vizag Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) as Phase 1, Bengaluru Mumbai Industrial Corridor (BMIC), Extension of CBIC to Kochi via Coimbatore, Hyderabad Nagpur Industrial Corridor (HNIC), Hyderabad Warangal Industrial Corridor (HWIC), Hyderabad Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (HBIC), Odisha Economic Corridor (OEC) and Delhi Nagpur Industrial Corridor (DNIC). According to the National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, these projects to be developed on 25000 acres of land are aimed at providing multi-modal connectivity with complete “plug and play” infrastructure till the plot level along with building resilient and sustainable future-ready cities.

The cabinet note defines the PM GatiShakti- National Master Plan as a comprehensive infrastructure plan that aspires to enhance India’s global competitiveness through next-generation infrastructure and seamless multi-modal connectivity which has been prepared to depict economic zones and the infrastructure linkages required to support them that can ensure the seamless movement of goods and people and enhance the ease of living.

The government claims that the plan will make domestic manufacturers globally competitive and develop new possibilities for the creation of future economic zones.

A senior official in the Madhya Pradesh government coordinating the states synchronisation with the Centre said, “This platform in future can bring huge benefits. Newly built roads today are dug up to lay power telephone lines or sewers. This can bring different civic entities on the same page and he’ll them coordinate their projects”

Government sources say that dismantling the confounding silos in which the government departments worked has been identified as the key route to enhance India’s global competitiveness through next-generation infrastructure and seamless multi-modal connectivity.

Once in place, it is expected to ensure the seamless movement of goods and people and improve the ease of living as well as doing business by empowering local manufacturers to be globally competitive.

PM Modi had mentioned the ‘PM GatiShakti National Master Plan’ in his independence day speech on August 15 this year.

Source- https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/pm-modi-to-launch-gatishakti-infra-master-plan-1863734-2021-10-12

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