Launched in October 2021, the GIS- based Gati Shakti platform captures all utilities and network linkages in making it possible for various infrastructure focused ministries and departments to come together and take a coordinated approach towards faster development of projects, boosting last-mile connectivity and bringing down logistics cost.
The significance of PM Gati Shakti aimed at fast tracking infrastructure development can be gauged from the statistics underlining that 323 infra projects, each incurring an investment of Rs 150 crore and above, have seen cost overruns of Rs 4.66 trillion by August 2022 end. Under Gati Shakti, as many as 197 critical infra gap projects have been identified for fast tracking.
How PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan has transformed the entire ecosystem can be seen for itself. Prior to its introduction, individual infrastructure related ministries were planning and executing their projects in an isolated manner. However, under the Gati Shakti portal, all existing and proposed infrastructure projects are mapped against the overall NICD (National Industrial Corridor Development) program for providing seamless multimodal connectivity. They are planned and executed in an integrated manner for speedy completion of projects.
What really makes Gati Shakti truly unique and result-oriented, is its governance structure. At the apex level, there is an empowered group of secretaries (EGOS) under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary. To assist EGOS, there is a Network Planning Group (NPG) comprising heads of network planning division of all infra-related ministries. The Special Secretary in the Department of Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) heads the NSG that monitors all logistics and connectivity projects with a potential investment of over Rs 500 crore.
PK Sinha, former principal advisor to the Prime Minister, describes the governance structure of Gati Shakti as the one designed as a watertight mechanism for achieving the desired outcomes. The one year report card of the PM Gati Shakti Program only endorses it. The Gati Shakti portal for central and state governments is now fully functional. As many as 26 states have integrated various data points with Gati Shakti NMP portal and 229 critical infra gaps have been reported, and necessary corrective measures recommended by the NPG to speed up the completion of projects for bringing in logistics efficiency. Over 900 data layers have been updated by central ministries and 316 essential layers by state governments and union territories. Around 125 rail projects have been identified for doubling and tripling of rail tracks. The Gati Shakti NMP is also being extensively employed by the ministries of highways and ports, besides the department of telecommunications.
Summing up the one year progress of PM Gati Shakti, Amrit Lal Meena, Special Secretary, Logistics Division of DPIIT, says, “Over the past one year, the maximum benefit has accrued in terms of minimizing uncertainties and disruptions in project execution, thereby reducing the time and cost overrun of projects. The use of digital technology for identification of critical gaps will help tackle challenges in a time-bound manner, which is key to swift movement of freight.”
Encouraged by the progress made during the last one year, ambitious targets have been set for key infrastructure ministries/departments, including highways, railways, aviation, ports, shipping, petroleum, telecom and renewable energy. The cumulative highway construction now has a revised target of 200000 km by 2025, up from 141000 km in the last financial year. Under Civil Aviation, the target of number of airports, heliports, water aerodromes including those under UDAN scheme has been increased from 140 in FY 22 to 220 by FY 25. The new target for cargo handling by ports is 1759 million tons per annum (MTPA) against 1189 MTPA. Similarly, the new oil and gas pipeline network target is 34500 km by FY 25 against 20000 km. The target for new and renewable energy has been revised to 225 gigawatts by FY 25, up from about 88 gigawatts.
Riding high on the series of structural reforms, the game changer PM Gati Shakti has set the foundation for a strong and vibrant economy, driven by rapid infrastructure development. Going forward, reforms like single window clearances will further add to the time and cost efficiency of projects. In post-covid times, when the focus is on digitally-driven infrastructure development, the country will be able to develop infra assets to emerge as a global powerhouse of business and economy.