Explained: Gati Shakti For Those Really In A Hurry
The Rs 100 crore master plan includes several infrastructure projects. It also aims to provide connectivity among all infrastructure projects through waterways, highways, airways or railways.
Growing up in Bengaluru, an anomaly struck me as I took the same route to school every day.
When a portion of a main road which had been dug up for some maintenance work was completed and re-tarred, I’d expect the road to remain untouched and brand new for some years to come. But to my dismay, the road would be opened up before the turn of the season. This time it would not be the BBMP, (the city’s municipal corporation) but the BWSSB (Bangalore Waster Sewage and Supply Board) which had dug up the road to fix some pipes. This has been my city’s story for as long as I can remember. Similar stories emerge from across India.
Why couldn’t someone from BWSSB contact BBMP and ensure that all the maintenance work was done at the same time? It was a coordination problem.
The Gati Shakti Master Plan inaugurated by the government on 13 October (yesterday) intends to solve this coordination issue at a national level through a software solution. It wants to break the silos in which various ministries and departments operate.
The Gati Shakti Master Plan is a national plan for multi-modal connectivity. It involves setting up a new single portal which will include information on all the current infrastructure projects including Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, UDAN etc. It will also integrate information of the existing facilities such as special economic zones, textile clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, agriculture zones, etc, across the country into the website.
These projects will be geo-mapped and can be tracked real-time. Apart from this, it would also provide analytical and decision-making tools to all investors and stakeholders involved in policy making in the country.
In the beginning, 16 departments and ministries such as Commerce Ministry, Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Power will be integrated into the portal. This will ensure coordination among various ministries and ensure that inter-ministerial permits for a project are granted faster and every concerned department stays in loop.
Connecting these projects on a single platform would also reduce logistics cost and make Indian exports more competitive. At present, logistics costs the country 13 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) which is higher than developed countries.
Infrastructure projects that have a tremendous multiplier effect are essential to create jobs as well as fill the infrastructure gaps of a developing country. The pace of infrastructure projects has also increased rapidly.
In the inauguration speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that “In the five years before 2014, only 3,000 kilometres of railways were electrified but in the last seven years, we have electrified more than 24,000 kilometres of railway tracks”. With the increasing pace and several other projects lined up for the future, coordination among departments becomes imperative.
The Prime Minister also urged state governments to join the plan so that more assets that fall under the state governments’ domain can be attached to the portal. The state government of Odisha has announced its intention to participate in the Gati Shakti Master Plan.
The Rs 100 crore master plan includes several infrastructure projects such as doubling the number of airports, construction of 19,000 km of gas pipelines, development of industrial and defence corridors and manufacturing clusters among others by 2024-25. It also aims to provide connectivity among all infrastructure projects through waterways, highways, airways or railways.
In short, this master plan aims to provide gati (momentum) to shakti (power) and to also shorten bureaucratic permissions, transport time, completion time for projects and completion costs.
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