"Transformation of 20th Century American Economy"

"Transformation of 20th Century American Economy"

Eight years ago when the BJP government came to power most of the players in the road construction sector, infrastructure sector and mining sector were a happy lot. More so, since infrastructure growth was one of the core agenda and that meant the sector was all set to get reinvigorated with oppo...

Eight years ago when the BJP government came to power most of the players in the road construction sector, infrastructure sector and mining sector were a happy lot. More so, since infrastructure growth was one of the core agenda and that meant the sector was all set to get reinvigorated with opportunities the stakeholders were banking on. Promises started shaping up and the implementation of projects began, the pace was assertive enough to maintain the momentum of growth desired. Set ExpectationsIn 2019 when the BJP was reelected, yet again an expectation was set, the term “infrastructure growth” had now become synonymous with the image of the government. Hence it was important not to lose out on this carefully crafted narrative. A narrative which saw infrastructure projects of different size and scale come to life. However the pandemic added a twist to the tale and pace of project implementation took a beating across certain sectors. An unabated wave of uncertainty was trying to set in, however government sponsored infrastructure projects continued as usual to ensure optimism stays alive. In the contemporary timeline as most of the sectors are back to normal it becomes even more essential for India to ensure that the focus on infrastructure growth continues. Not to mention it also translates into creation of jobs for a nation full of skilled and seasoned professionals across different age groups. The government was quick to take note of these facts and realize it was time to improvise. Global Trends and the Future AheadIn the meantime the global trends in infrastructure also turned out to be an eye opener. According to the Global Infrastructure Outlook 2017 (Oxford Economics), global requirement of investment in infrastructure between calendar years 2016 and 2040 is expected to reach US$ 94 trillion. An additional US$ 3.5 trillion is required to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in water and electricity. Of this, 50 per cent of the investment needs are in Asia. Electricity and roads sectors will constitute over two-thirds of this, followed by telecom, rail and water sectors. Going by these figures, it is not difficult to understand that India becoming a US$5 trillion economy is not just a pipe dream but a target which can be achieved. The achievement however necessitates a framework which will make way for accountability and ensure projects and tasks are completed in a defined timeline. A Digital Framework for Effective CommunicationIrrespective of the sector in question building infrastructure translates to co-ordination between different stakeholders. Given the cultural and political diversity of a country like India these are important factors worth focusing on. A system was desired wherein different departments and government bodies could communicate with each other seamlessly about multiple aspects which govern the resurrection and birth of new age infrastructure. In response to all such concerns Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Gati Shakti on October 13, 2021, aimed at breaking inter-ministerial silos the plan aims to strengthen the country’s last mile connectivity by creating a common umbrella platform through which infrastructure projects could be planned and implemented in an efficient manner between various ministries and departments on a real-time basis.Participation of Different Ministries facilitated by technologyThe Gati Shakti will bring sixteen ministries, along with railroads and highways, together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connection projects in order to ensure that initiatives execution across special sectors continue without interruption. Inland waterways, dry/land ports, financial zone clusters, textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, and defence corridors are only a few of the infrastructure projects included in the Gati Shakti Scheme. Other projects include Bharatmala, Sagarmala, and UDAN. The plan also makes extensive use of technology, including spatial planning tools from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and enhanced images from the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BiSAG-N).The Targets Defined So Far The Gati Shakti Infrastructure Plan Targets set by the Indian government for 2024-25 for all infrastructure ministries are as follows:Expanding National HighwaysThe Ministry of road transport & highways have a target to extend national highways to 0.2 million kilometre, completing four or six-lane national highways of 5,590 km along coastal areas and connecting all state capitals in the northeast with four-lane national highways or two two-lane national highways.Increasing Cargo CapacityFor Railway Ministry, has a target to handle 1,600 million tonnes of cargo, decongest 51 per cent of the rail network by completing additional lines and implement two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs).For the shipping sector, the target is set at 1,759 million tonne per annum total cargo capacity to be handled at ports.Doubling the Existing Aviation FootprintThe Ministry of Civil Aviation has a target to increase the existing aviation footprint and have a total of 220 new airports, heliports and water aerodromes by 2025. This requires the development of an additional 109 facilities.Construction of the Pipeline NetworkThe government aims at doubling the gas pipeline network to 34,500 kms by building an additional 17,000 km long trunk pipeline that will connect major demand and supply centres for industries.Extending the Transmission NetworkThe total power transmission network is targeted to be ~0.5 million circuit km and the renewable energy capacity to be increased to 225 GW.Boosting the MSME sectorThe plan includes constructing 11 industrial corridors, achieving a INR 1.7 lakh crore (US$ 22.1 billion) turnover in defence production and to have 38 electronics manufacturing clusters and 109 pharmaceutical clusters. This scheme will hugely benefit the MSME sector as it will ensure reach of basic amenities to the remotest areas of the country and enhance business opportunities for inclusive growth.

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