By Avi Dutt, Atul Sanganeria The government’s thrust on infrastructure projects just received a new lease of life through the PM Gati Shakti programme. This programme cuts across transport and connectivity, industrial and urban development with the end goal of improving movement of goods, services and passengers. Since 2014, the government has made commendable efforts […]
By Avi Dutt, Atul Sanganeria
The government’s thrust on infrastructure projects just received a new lease of life through the PM Gati Shakti programme. This programme cuts across transport and connectivity, industrial and urban development with the end goal of improving movement of goods, services and passengers.
Since 2014, the government has made commendable efforts for the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects, including the privatisation of several assets and facilities where private sector efficiency was much needed.
However, the PM Gati Shakti plan is backed by a more scientific and data-driven approach towards national infrastructure and multimodal planning using analytical GIS (Geographic Information System) based tools. Developed countries like Germany and Singapore have already tried this approach, but this move marks a massive and transformational reform for India. These efforts will help break away from the past trend of infrastructure development in silos and help coordination among the 16 key ministries for planning and development.
It is also expected to encourage the spirit of cooperative federalism, as the synchronisation of State level plans with the National Master Plan is a sine qua non for success. There is a precedent of this level of cooperation between the States and the Central government — the NICDC (National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Limited) is a good example, whereby industrial corridors were developed with the cooperation of the State and Central governments.
It will also improve economic competitiveness by reducing logistics costs and ensuring demand responsive planning by helping eradicate imbalances and irregularities in infrastructure planning and creation across the country.
The implementation of the PM Gati Shakti programme requires plans to be implemented proactively at the State level. The end goal is to improve the efficiency of the value chains of specific products and industries through infrastructure development.
This infrastructure creation would also result in a big fillip to the competitiveness of the various sectors of the economy by linking State-level production, consumption, and storage centres to national gateways (with a seamless interconnected multimodal network to reduce logistics costs).
The PM Gati Shakti Master Plan has a well-crafted institutional structure at both the Central and State level and several States have actively set up State-level coordination mechanisms for logistics connectivity. However, there is also a need to nudge States to actively participate in this effort. One such initiative that has already been implemented is the LEADS (Logistics Ease Across Different States), which provides logistics ranking of different States and areas and scope of improvement and creates healthy competition among States to improve their rankings.
The Central government could also incentivise States to come up with their logistics policy, State and city level logistics plans to gain maximum benefit from the national efforts at the central level. A model which has met with a fair amount of success is the development of industrial nodes, where States which proactively arrange for land for industrial development and plan for trunk infrastructure to industrial nodes get equity from NICDC for industrial development to form an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle). These have assisted in the development of some critical nodes and projects in DMICDC (Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation), CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) and had the added benefit of crowding-in huge private sector investments. This model can be thought through to further enable PM Gati Shakti for multimodal connectivity and logistics sector development.
The PM Gati Shakti Plan for multimodal connectivity should also come up with a financing mechanism to further incentivise States which are proactively working towards logistics sector development. In this regard, the experience of multilateral agencies which have worked with the central and State governments in industrial development, logistics with strong experience of similar development models in other Asian countries can be tapped.
The implementation in States is pertaining mainly towards more of GIS-based governance of all kinds of sectors, eg planning of Anganwadi, police station and health centre. Even regional development plans are proposed to be done through Gati Shakti. All financial approval, land acquisition/allotment/permissions shall be through Gati Shakti. This will be an overarching governance structure for all regional development plans. Gati Shakti shall be an integrated Geo-Spatial Platform with the application of space, geospatial and emerging technologies.
State Logistics Master Plan
1. Long-term logistics requirement as drivers, principles of logistics planning with focus on:
• Integration of PM Gati Shakti with State-level logistics master plan
• Economic growth towards 2030 and 2040s with possibility of freight and mobility to grow many folds
• Logistics planning with focus to provide sufficient capacities to handle future requirements
2. Efficient coordination and collaboration between Centre and States:
• State role shall be facilitating the last mile connectivity planning and implementation
• Need for holistic logistics efficiency improvement plan building on PM Gati Shakti : infrastructure, facilities, and systems for meeting requirements of the 2030s and 2040s
3. Opportunities and needs for integrating with long-term systematic urban planning:
• Critical need for logistics efficiency improvement in urban areas
• City logistics master plans
• State shall play a key role in integrating logistics with urban planning (promoting systematic urban agglomeration, shifting of logistics to peri-urban areas)
4. Opportunities to integrate with national/State industrial corridor planning
5. Need for soft interventions to complement hard infrastructure – Several laws and regulations either are State subjects or State enforcement:
• Warehousing sector: Highly fragmented governed by multiple agencies can be moved to one single window clearance
• Road enforcement of commercial cargo vehicles (60-plus different regulatory touch points) can be simplified with risk-based approach and digital technologies.
Value Proposition to Govt., Citizens
• Ease of governance mainly through integration of infrastructure NOC (No Objection Certificate), Permission, Clearances with Investors facilitation portal (IFP), and through online tracking of application and approval process by the department, the applicant, the investor, and the public through IFP
• Ease of permission through location-based application process using GIS data developed under Gati Shakti Gujarat
• Ease of optimum planning by planning of road, rail, water pipeline connectivity projects for upcoming investment areas through Gati Shakti Gujarat, reduction in escalated costs
• Prioritisation of infrastructure projects through identification and planning of last mile connectivity road, rail projects, missing link projects
Ease of doing business:
• Automation of NOC, permission, clearances for faster approval process
• Online application tracking by investors
• Faster decision-making by investors for selected suitable site for investment in respective States
Transparency and faceless governance:
• Online approval process of NOC, permissions
• Online application submission to respective departments
Empowerment to citizens and investors:
• Online tracking of infrastructure-related application status
• Identify suitable locations for investments site suitability analysis
• Less interaction with public servants for approvals
(Avi Dutt is Associate Vice-President, Centre for Transportation and Logistics, IIM Ahmedabad. Atul Sanganeria is Independent Industrial Corridor and Logistics Sector Expert)