Gati Shakti National Master Plan’: A game changer for India’s infrastructure S.K. MEHTA Chairman, Deendayal Port Trust Infrastructure creation is a team game, a fusion of several elements crisscrossing multiple sectors that must synchronise to achieve the goal of building a logistic network for the smooth and efficient flow of goods at the most competitive costs.
Considering the vast expanse of the nation and the many layers of decision making involved, it is nothing short of a miracle that India has achieved a modicum of respectability in infrastructure creation thus far. But, for achieving the target of a $5 trillion economy, we need to step up the game and start firing on all cylinders.
There are numerous challenges along the way. Consider this: At least 16 Central Ministries such as Roads and Highways, Railways, Shipping, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Telecom, Shipping and Civil Aviation are connected to infrastructure projects one way or the other, not to mention the role of the state governments in this quest for nation building.
Thus, for holistic planning, timely clearances, monitoring of works and efficient implementation of projects, all these stake holder ministries and departments should work in tandem.The importance of synchronisation cannot be over emphasised in this endeavour.
Optimal synchronization and planning of projects will help complete the projects on time, translating into higher economic growth and job creation. Like in the case of game changing, ambitious projects of huge national importance, India’s infrastructure building required a masterplan for execution.
On October 13, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi unveiled the first ever National Infrastructure Masterplan christened ‘Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti’ seeking to bring together 16 Central Ministries, including seven core infrastructure sectors, onto a single platform to synergize project planning across stakeholder ministries.
India’s infrastructure creation could not have asked for a better vision from the Prime Minister than this. No other Prime Minister has ever dreamt of making such a master plan for India’s infrastructure sector. The PM ‘GatiShakti’ National Master Plan is designed to “break departmental silos” and bring in more holistic and integrated planning and execution of projects with a view to address the issues of multi modal connectivity and last mile connectivity.
This will help in reducing the logistics cost of India’s trade besides translating into enormous economic gains to consumers, farmers, youth as well as those engaged in businesses. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved PM GatiShakti National Master Plan including institutional framework for rolling out, implementation, monitoring and support mechanism for providing multi-modal connectivity.
The implementation framework includes Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGOS), Network Planning Group (NPG) and Technical Support Unit (TSU) with required technical competencies. EGOS will be headed by Cabinet Secretary and will consist of Secretaries of 18 Ministries as members and Head of Logistics Division as Member Convenor.
The EGOS has been mandated to review and monitor implementation of the PM GatiShakti NMP to ensure logistics efficiency. It is empowered to prescribe framework and norms for undertaking any subsequent amendments to the NMP.
EGOS shall also set out the procedure and definitive framework for synchronization of various activities and ensure that various initiatives of infrastructure development are part of the common integrated digital platform. EGOS will also look at the interventions required to meet the demand side, in efficiently transporting bulk goods on the requirement of various Ministries like Steel, Coal, Fertilizer, etc.
CCEA has also approved formation, composition and terms of reference for Network Planning Group (NPG) consisting of heads of Network Planning wing of respective infrastructure ministries and it will assist the EGOS.Further, in view of the complexities involved in overall integration of networks, enhancing optimization to avoid duplication of works for holistic development of any region as well as reducing logistics costs through micro-plan detailing, the Technical Support Unit (TSU) has been formed for providing the required competencies.
The TSU shall have domain experts from various infrastructure sectors as Aviation, Maritime, Public Transport, Rail, Roads and Highways, Ports, etc. and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as Urban & Transport Planning, Structures (Roads, Bridges & Buildings), Power, Pipeline, GIS, ICT, Finance/Market PPP, logistics, Data Analytics, etc.
Deendayal Port Authority, India’s top state-owned port by volumes handled for the last 14 years, will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the ‘Gati Shakti’ NMP. Overcoming the pandemic induced disruptions, Deendayal Port handled 117.56 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cargo in FY21, the highest amongst all major ports.
Deendayal Port has devised a multipronged strategy to realise the ‘Maritime India Vision 2030’ of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. The Port is focusing on six main areas to achieve 200 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) of cargo handling capacity by 2029-30.
The focus area includes Cargo and Productivity improvement; Landlord Port Development; Port Led Industrialization; Coastal Shipping and Ro-Ro; Ro- Pax expansion; Ease of Doing Business and Cost of Doing Business improvement as well as Green and Safe Port.
The port is working diligently towards implementing many projects planned under different focus areas.Under Sagarmala, the Port is implementing 21 projects worth Rs4,300 crores, of which 6 projects worth Rs465 crores have been completed. Under the ‘Gati Shakti – National Master Plan, 10 projects worth Rs2,552 crores are under implementation.
The major projects under ‘Gati Shakti’ comprise Augmentation of Pipeline Network at Oil Jetty area in Kandla, SBM expansion at Vadinar, Oil Jetty Cum Bunkering Terminal at Kandla, Construction of 5 Oil Jetties: OJ 7,8,9,10 and 11, Smart Industrial Port City Project and Mechanization of Cargo berth No 14.
The Port expects huge investment in many of these projects from the private sector as they are being implemented under the public private partnership (PPP) model. This will help in boosting EXIM trade and the country’s GDP. The port is also implementing connectivity projects in rail, road and Ro- Ro/Ro Pax.
The Ro-Ro/Ro Pax service from Hazira to Ghogha was inaugurated by the Prime Minister and the Deendayal Port Authority supported in implementing the project under the guidance of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
Taking the initiative further, the Port is developing Ro-Ro Pax facilities worth Rs383 Crores at Hazira, Pipavav and Muldwarka under the aegis of the Sagarmala scheme.With the National Master Plan in place, ‘Gati Shakti’ will power the momentum for infrastructure building like never before in India.
Shri S.K. MEHTA
Chairman, Deendayal Port Trust