In a bid to bring the various strands of India’s infrastructure development on a common path, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the PM GatiShakti – National Master Plan for multi-modal connectivity.

Launched on October 13, the plan envisages a centralised portal comprising all existing and planned infrastructure initiatives of as many as 16 central ministries and departments. As a result, every department will now have visibility of each other’s activities, providing critical data while planning and comprehensively executing projects.

“We are laying the foundation for the next 25 years of India’s development. The National Master Plan will give speed and direction to 21st century India. The people of India – entrepreneurs, industrialists, manufacturers, farmers and youth are at the centre of this mega initiative,” Modi said.

As a result of better planning, the entire process of infrastructure creation is expected to be streamlined beginning from land acquisition to implementation, connections between local, state and national level government bodies and corporates, he added.

The Prime Minister had initially announced Gatishakti in his speech from the Red Fort on the 75th Independence Day. Arguing that infrastructure creation in India had suffered for decades from multiple issues, the Modi government has been pointing to a major lack of coordination between different departments as a prime reason.

“Different infra departments and states work in silos, and hence planning are affected. As a result, the projects which were supposed to help grow India’s economy have instead become barriers to progress because of lack of coordination,” Modi said.

“Historically, we have experienced many shortcomings with infrastructure planning in India. Different departments do their planning, but there has been no holistic approach. We have seen how a road is newly constructed, and then the waterworks people will come and dig the road to lay a pipeline,” the PM said, citing a common example.

Saying that the lack of synchronization had been deeply entrenched, Modi said while the Road Department sets up a divider on a busy highway, the Traffic Police later comes in and dismantles it saying it is unplanned.

These issues are now expected to change, with fibre optic connections, power lines, sewer works and new gas lines, being laid, in tandem with new road constructions. Similarly, the development of new ports from now on will include the participation of other ministries such as Rail and Road.

The portal will also map the need for roads across the country, reduce logistics costs and pinpoint challenges in connectivity. The plan is the next step after government efforts to address other issues like the time-taking approval process, the multiplicity of regulatory clearances etc.

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