Gati Shakti - Key for Economic Recovery - Daily Current Affair Article

CONTEXT:

With the Gati Shakti National Master Plan launched recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expanded on the familiar theme that India’s slowing economic growth engine can find renewed momentum through major infrastructure upgrades that will cut logistics costs for industry and raise all round efficiency.

MAJOR FEATURES OF THE PLAN

  • It is essentially a technocentric administrative initiative that promises silo-breaking integration of 16 Ministries including railways, roads and ports through information technology, satellite mapping and data tools
  • The programme seeks to appeal to the national imagination as an umbrella integrator of ₹111-lakh crore worth of projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for 2020-25.
  • All the existing and proposed economic zones have been mapped along with the multimodal connectivity infrastructure in a single platform.
  • Individual projects of different line Ministries would be examined and sanctioned in future within the parameters of the overall Plan, leading to synchronisation of efforts.
  • GatiShakti will bring synergy to create a world class, seamless multi-modal transport network in India.
  • The National Master Plan will employ modern technology and the latest IT tools for coordinated planning of infrastructure.
  • A GIS-based Enterprise Resource Planning system with 200+ layers for evidence-based decision-making is one example.
  • The use of satellite imagery for monitoring is another. Digitisation will play a big role in ensuring timely clearances and flagging potential issues, and in project monitoring as well.
  • It aims to develop 11 industrial corridors and two new defence corridors - one in Tamil Nadu and other in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Extending 4G connectivity to all villages is a major target.
  • Adding 17,000 kms to the gas pipeline network is being planned for better
  • The scheme is in synergy with the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP).
  • The NMP has been announced to provide a clear framework for monetisation and give potential investors a ready list of assets to generate investment interest.

BENEFITS

  • The rail-road multimodal connectivity and higher share of freight for the railways has evident multiple benefits:
  • This includes reducing the cost of logistics to GDP that has prevailed at about 14% to an aspirational 8%.
  • And addressing the challenge of reducing vehicular emissions from road freight growth in order to meet climate change commitments and containing input costs due to extraordinarily high taxes on diesel.
  • With respect to efficiency in port operations,the benefits will be visible through:
  • Increased cargo handling capacity
  • And cutting vessel turnaround time
  • A holistic and integrated transport connectivity strategy will greatly support Make in India and integrate different modes of transport.

ROLE OF STATES

  • The key areas like port linkages and land availability for highways, railways, industrial clusters and corridors, that are the main fulcrum points of the plan, depends upon political consensus and active partnership.
  • The observations in the Economic Survey for 2020-21 underscore the role of active Centre-State partnerships for infrastructure building. The Survey projects maximum investments towards NIP sectors such as energy, roads, urban infrastructure and railways for FY 2021 and 22, with about ₹8.5-lakh crore to be invested by either side annually, besides ₹4.5-lakh crore per year from the private sector.
  • State governments must take the lead in identifying parcels of land for industrialisation.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

  • Effects of the COVID-19 are still there, reflecting upon the lost jobs and the level of unemployment that also affected the demand and the consumption.
  • Attracting major investments for the plan for better results
  • Incompatible and hostile land acquisition decisions alienating communities or threatening to violate environmental integrity delays the projects ultimately.

WAY FORWARD WITH SUGGESTIONS

  • Identify potential industrial areas.
  • Reclaim lands already subjected to degradation and pollution, rather than alienate controversial new parcels.
  • Convincing citizens that they stand to benefit from such grand plans through better social welfare, lower service costs and higher efficiencies,
  • Respecting federal boundaries while dealing with the States
  • An efficient logistics network is one necessary condition.
  • Another one is achieving economies of scale in manufacturing. Industrial parks and logistics parks need to grow in size to be globally competitive. The National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (NICDC), formerly DMIDC will work in close coordination with state governments to develop these industrial corridors.

Much has been achieved in ensuring India can transform into a manufacturing powerhouse. A continuous easing of the business environment, coupled with economic reforms will boost formality & productivity. Public investments in infrastructure will reduce the cost of logistics, through creating a seamless multi-modal infrastructure network. However, this would require synchronisation across various government levels and departments to execute. This is what the GatiShakti plan aims to achieve - synchronous decision making to create a world-class, seamless multi-modal transport network, on the back of which India will be transformed.

Sources

  • The Hindu
  • The Indian Express
  • The Economic Times
  • NITI Aayog
General Studies Paper 3
  • Economy