If development is the matrix, then infrastructure is its barometer. Developed countries are often synonymous with well built & well- planned mobility avenues. Umpteen precedents confirm that evolved infrastructure is the precursor to the general prosperity & gross national happiness.

For a place like India, where the majority of the infrastructure is yet to be built, it has been a centrepiece for all the central & state outlays. Each government endeavours to bridge the gap between the haves and wants. However, the thrust to reach that utopian state has never been stronger, and one big push towards this elusive is PM Gati Shakti.

PM Gati Shakti- In a nutshell

Announced on the 75th Independence Day of the country, PM Gati Shakti-termed, the national master plan for multi-modal connectivity, is a sophisticated project that aims to connect various economic zones in the country. It shall ensure seamless movement of people, goods, and services amongst the economic zones.

With technology at its centrepiece, the initiative intends to unify all the involved stakeholders, currently working in silos, on a single platform to ensure minimal/no impact on the development life cycle of any project. The Master plan, with a total, expected outlay of INR 10,00,00,00 00,00,000 (no, there is no error here), endeavours to bring in 16 different govt departments under one roof (though virtual) to ensure the country is blessed with holistic infrastructure (addressing the infamous last mile connectivity challenges as well).

As the proof of the pudding is always in the eating, though the heart is in the right place, ensuring all the moving parts not only fall in one place but are also in sync seems like a gargantuan task. With a lot of work still under wraps, the room is anxious about the overall plan, implementation, objectives, inclusions, and expected results. Please hop on with us to better understand the nut & bolts of this ambitious program.

The What & Why of the Plan

With the ease of doing business & ease of living at its core, the plan intends to do the unthinkable, bringing together the entire govt. Machinery across a single table to ensure no hiccups, delays, redundancy, and efficient utilisation of sparse resources within well-defined timelines. Let’s take a deep breath, close our eyes, and imagine a society where ministries such as Shipping, Ports, Environment, Railways, Roads, Aviation, Commerce, IT, Power, Petroleum & Natural Gas et.al. collectively are working on projects encompassing govt.

Schemes such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, UDAN etc., across economic clusters such as textile, pharmaceuticals, defence, electronic, industrial, fishing, and Agri zone totalling INR 100 lakh crores. This is what the plan intends to deliver. This portal shall act as a single place for entire data with GIS-based spatial planning and analytical tool having 200+ layers demonstrating the entire infrastructure plan of the country.

Any future project will have to pass the litmus test of an empowered team of the PM Gati Shakti, which shall ensure all linkages/approvals for the take-off of the project are in place before the shovel hits the ground.

PM Gati Shakti aligns with the Prime Minister’s goal of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and intends to improve the employment ecosystem across each identified cluster. It will offer more opportunities to Indian businesses and thus boost economic growth. The vision also includes attracting more foreign investments and placing India in a better position on the global landscape.

The plan harps upon six pillars 1) Comprehensiveness, 2) Prioritization, 3) Optimization, 4) Synchronization, 5) Analytical, and 6) Dynamic.

The Masterstroke?

While the scale of implementation of the plan is globally unparalleled, at the same time, the size of the problem that it is addressing is also unheard of. Currently, the projects in the country face inordinate delays on account of various approvals being stuck across different inter-governmental offices. Every single relevant department has the potential to completely derail the progress and further jeopardise the investments/commitments of both developers & investors in the project.

With all approvals being in place prior to bidding coupled with the approachability of all departments on the platform is being considered a full proof way to address the aforementioned challenges. Further, since each and every project will holistically be looked at by all the ministries, the requirement and or future possibility of redundant infrastructure created in the vicinity, putting the existing projects at risk, will not see the light of the day.

Few are touting the project as one of the largest project management tools. However, it is much more than that. With the aim to solve for the last mile connectivity, thoughtfully develop economic clusters, and bring down average logistics cost (through a multi-modal model), this shall act as a harbinger for a new & efficient phase of infrastructure development in the country at the same time the plan shall also facilitate investment (both offshore & domestic) into these much-needed projects.

Watch: Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairperson of the NCI, on the performance of PM Gati Shakti

PM Gati Shakti will bring together central governments and state governments, and other entities on the same page to ensure faster infrastructure development that shall reap beneficial results.