Gati Shakti is an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Gati Shakti is an Idea Whose Time Has Come

After weathering the pandemic storm and having emerged as the 5th largest economy in the world, India is certainly ready to describe an even steeper growth curve. With considerable inherent strengths of the oft mentioned 3Ds of Democracy, Demographic Dividend and Demand and the addition of a fourth ...

After weathering the pandemic storm and having emerged as the 5th largest economy in the world, India is certainly ready to describe an even steeper growth curve. With considerable inherent strengths of the oft mentioned 3Ds of Democracy, Demographic Dividend and Demand and the addition of a fourth dimension of Digitalization, India has what it takes to continue her enviable growth trajectory. Touted as the future talent factory of the world, experts opine that India will have 20 per cent of the globe’s working population by 2047, that India can soon achieve her long standing dream of becoming a global manufacturing hub and, in the process, could well emerge as the business capital of the world. Internally, the focus on well-thought-out and far-reaching economic reforms and infrastructure development has kept the growth story intact. On one hand, acknowledging the criticality of connectivity as a defining feature of modern economies, serious effort has been made to enhance and improve it in the country and the numbers bear out that intent. Highway construction increased at 17 per cent CAGR between FY16-FY21 and despite the pandemic and the resultant lockdowns, India constructed 13,298 km of highways in FY21. Under the Union Budget 2022-23, the Government of India has allocated a further INR. 199,107.71 crore (US$ 26.04 billion) to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. On the other hand, infrastructure development has remained a national priority, and been in high gear, for a while but what was lacking was a programme to connect the dots for well-coordinated, seamless planning and execution of infrastructure projects that would immeasurably improve competitiveness and enhance efficiencies. PM Gati Shakti – An Idea Whose Time Has Come The PM Gati Shakti - National Master Plan is the perfect answer, at the right time, and a game-changing programme for multi-modal connectivity cutting across transport and connectivity, industrial and urban development with the end goal to improve movement of goods, services, and passengers. It has the potential to change the dynamics of India’s growth story radically and usher in a whole new level of inclusive growth. The master plan, on the back of a Rs.100 trillion commitment is certainly music to our ears as the country’s leading creator of defining infrastructure, for Larsen & Toubro is involved with almost every one of the 16 ministries that will be integrated on a digital platform. For long the industry has been struggling with gaps and overlaps in operations, inordinate delays in procuring clearances, approvals and acquisitions, litigations issues, lack of coordination and cross-sectoral interactions, the threat of inter-ministerial silos, multiple inter-department issues, lack of standardization, disjointed planning, and many more. These have been huge speed breakers to execution. The PM Gati Shakti intends to eliminate all these roadblocks and smoothen the process. By incorporating infrastructure schemes under various ministries and states, the Gati Shakti platform aims to boost last-mile connectivity and bring down logistics costs that account for nearly 13-14 per cent of GDP as against 7-8 per cent in developed economies with integrated planning and reducing implementation overlaps Even as global value chains are being reimagined to sync with the demands of modern economies, there is a huge need to de-bottleneck supply chains in India to unlock their value. Interestingly, the world over, the growth of value chains has been in tandem with improvements in transportation and communications technologies, redefining the relationships between trade and competitiveness and allowing for fragmentation of production in tasks in different locations. We are confident that India will tread the same path, perhaps adopting and adapting even quicker. The benefits are multi fold: a huge fillip to economic activities; more employment generation; better realization for private players and thereby less leveraged balance sheets, improved quality, more exports and overall, greater confidence in the system. Building on what’s already built and being built The massive programmes to develop airports and seaports create dedicated freight corridors, upscale the rail services, fast track construction of strategically important roads and highways are all pieces of a master plan to improve multi-modal connectivity in the country. A holistic and integrated transport connectivity strategy will greatly support the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The PM Gati Shakti will incorporate the existing infrastructure schemes of various ministries and state governments like the Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, UDAN, etc. Economic zones like textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, industrial corridors, fishing clusters, agri zones will all be covered to improve connectivity and make Indian businesses more competitive. The programme will integrate these pieces into a large, connected canvass and be in sync with the National Monetization Pipeline that was announced to provide a clear framework for monetization and give potential investors a ready list of assets to generate investor interest. The entire data will now be available in one place with GIS-based spatial planning and analytical tools having 200+ layers, for better visibility to the executing agency. All Ministries and Departments can visualize, review, and monitor the progress of cross-sectoral projects, through the GIS platform, with satellite imagery providing periodical on-ground progress that will also be updated regularly on the portal to identify the need for vital interventions to enhance and update the master plan. A vital step in the right direction Most certainly the PM Gati Shakti is a programme that will in time become a vital differentiator to define India’s future. We are confident that it will address the gap between macro planning and micro implementation. With synergies, better understanding and greater collaboration, the stage is set for India to take off. At L&T, we are excited about the success of this programme, the benefits it will create for the sustained growth of our country. By: SV Desai, Senior Executive Vice President (Civil Infrastructure), L&T

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