A Paradigm Shift on the Anvil for India’s Mass Rapid Transit System
PM Gati Shakti aspires to infuse a synergistic capability to build a world-class, seamless multi-modal transport network in India, developing next-generation infrastructure which catalyses Ease of Living and as well as Ease of Doing Business. It strives to institutionalise holistic planning for stakeholders for major infrastructure projects. The project is highly technology-driven and includes a comprehensive database of the ongoing and future projects under various ministries across the country, powered by spatial planning tools with ISRO imagery developed by BiSAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics) to bridge any missing gaps. The GatiShakti portal would minimise the amount of human intervention required as ministries will be in constant touch, and projects will be reviewed by the project monitoring group in real-time. The portal will also showcase all the clearances any new project would need, based on its location and enable stakeholders to seek these clearances from the relevant authority directly on the portal. Six Pillars of Building India’s Future PM GatiShakti stands on 6 pillars, and each pillar is pivotal for addressing any gap in the implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects. The first pillar is built on Comprehensiveness, which brings all existing or planned initiatives of various ministries and departments with one centralized digital portal, enabling visibility to all the stakeholders. As the second pillar, the PM Gati Shakti brings about Prioritisation, this is done by facilitating cross-sectoral interactions, thereby breaking silos with a holistic approach. The third pillar constitutes Opitimisation by assisting different ministries in planning for modification or expansion or implementation of new projects after the identification of critical gaps. The fourth pillar is very crucial, as it brings about synchronisation facilitating visibility and coordination in the planning and implementation of projects of individual departments and ministries. The fifth pillar brings in Analysis, which is at the core of the Gati Shakti plan. It addresses the availability of entire data in one place with a GIS-based enterprise resource planning system and analytical tools enabling better visibility garnering better decision capability to the executing agency. As the sixth pillar, dynamic process of Gati Shakti would help in identifying the vital implementation for enhancing and updating the master plan, empowering the concerned authorities of the cross-sectoral developments, avoiding any conflicts, and achieving better efficiencies. Green Shoots As testimony of the success of PM Gati Shakti platform can be assessed by the recent cabinet approval for a new railway line connecting Gujarat and Rajasthan. This large-scale infrastructure project plan was created in just three to four months using the Gati Shakti platform. Due to the data and information on the Gati Shakti platform, the time period was significantly cut short. Greater Efficiencies on the Anvil Talking of the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), in the past few years, Metro Rail has made rapid strides with the metro rail network getting expanded substantially, which will be expedited thanks to the laser focus of the government on developing a cohesive and fully integrated urban transportation sector. We have already begun witnessing the thrust in the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS). The vision 2025 for urban public transport envisages for the mass rapid transit system to be available in more than 50 cities in India by 2025. The government has also taken up metro rail feasibility studies across cities with over two million population. With manymetro and Rapid Regional Transit System (RRTS) projects currently under various phases of development, very soon many Indian cities will have operational metro services. With the advent of PM Gati Shakti, we are very hopeful that, this synchronous platform would add more momentum to the existing, ongoing, and future projects. It would also fuel indigenisation through Atma-Nirbhar Bharat, Make in India, and Vocal for Local, which is also pushing the indigenous technologies and capabilities, which is surely going to usher the sustainable transport goals in a big way. MRTS is an inherently sustainable mode of transportation that keeps a check on emissions and enhances the quality of life. With Gati Shakti, we also look forward to a more significant push in technology adoption and sustainability measures in the sector. Better efficiencies in decisions would trigger the developers to adopt the best-in-class technologies and intelligent transportation systems that would improve traffic congestion and help reduce carbon emissions. Infrastructure creation in India has suffered from disjointed planning, lack of standardisation, and a synchronous approach. However, now with PM Gati Shakti, we see a glimmer of hope, thanks to its stated objectives to ensure seamless and cost-effective integration of various infrastructural facilities, better coordination between departments, and a reduction in time for seeking approvals. The Gati Shakti National Master Plan has kickstarted a paradigm shift towards synchronous decision-making leaping towards building a world-class, seamless multi-modal transport network, however, it needs a mandatory push from the Center to achieve these objectives. Currently, it is in a nascent stage, and we will have to be watch how it evolves over a period of time. By: KVB Reddy, Managing Director & CEO, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd.