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PM Gati Shakti Plan: Herald for India’s Aquarian age?

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“India is known for much development that has happened since our independence, but at the same time, we have also failed on many levels. It is the responsibility of the future generation to ensure that all these failures are corrected and help create a civilized society with equal opportunities for one and all.”

-N.R. Narayan Murthy

Recently, there has been a lot of clatter and talks of the economy bouncing back to the pre-COVID 19 levels, not just at the national level, but also with respect to the other nations. In this fiasco, the nations have made sure that they utilize each and every resource available to them. Now, utilization/exploitation is a topic for another article, where we speak of the sustainable utilization of the resources available to the nation(s). However, all these factors have opened the door for a concept which for a long time has been left unexplored. The concept is that of Brownfield investments. Brownfield investments are defined by Investopedia as:

“A brownfield (also known as “brown-field”) investment is when a company or government entity purchases or leases existing production facilities to launch a new production activity.”

The entire notion of brownfield investments, which are also categorized as brownfield assets was glorified by the Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, while she was launching the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP). She deviated from the traditional notion of brownfield investments and defined brownfield assets as those in which the investments have already been made but these assets are under-utilized. The readers might’ve noticed the deviation from the PM Mission Gati Shakti as the topic to NMP. However, this deviation seemed essential to understand the concept of PM Gati Shakti Mission and brownfield assets.

Coming back to our topic of PM Gati Shakti Plan. It essentially is a master plan which highlights and encourages the notion of multi-modal connectivity. There is a term ‘holistic’ which is being used again and again with reference to this plan. The reason for this is simple, the plan brings 16 ministries including Railways and Roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects. Going back to the time when the finance minister spoke about the NMP, she highlighted that the under-utilized brownfield assets have marked their presence in sectors such as roadways, railways, airports, mines, and power. Hence, this in turn would lead to an acceleration in Indian economic growth. The notion of ‘institutionalization’ has been of great importance under the PM Gati Shakti Plan. The basic concept behind the same lies with the fact that the central government, instead of having separate planning and construction of the plans combine these all and makes use with a common vision of the infrastructural development in India and reduction of the incontinences faced by the public as a whole due to the constant shift and expansion of the infrastructural planning. Hence, ensuring institutionalized holistic planning, coupled with the development of major infrastructure developments. According to the plan outlined by the Press Information Bureau of India (PIB), the infrastructure scheme would cover an array of schemes presented by an array of different ministries. They include: 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 be covered to improve connectivity & make Indian businesses more competitive. It will also leverage technology extensively including spatial planning tools with ISRO imagery developed by BiSAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics).

Furthermore, PM Gati Shakti is broadly categorized under six pillars. They are:

  1. Comprehensiveness (Creation of one centralized portal for the existing and planned initiatives of the various ministries mentioned above; efficient monitoring of every department)
  2. Prioritization (Increased prioritisation of the projects and initiatives)
  3. Optimization (Proper identification of the critical gaps mentioned under various industries and the required plans and programmes for better development)
  4. Synchronization (This will ensure that the work flow of various ministries come together as one, which would in turn help in the synchronisation of the departments and avoid delays)
  5. Analytical (The plan will provide the entire data at one place with GIS based spatial planning and analytical tools having 200+ layers, enabling better visibility to the executing agency)
  6. Dynamic (All Ministries and Departments will now be able to visualize, review and monitor the progress of cross-sectoral projects, through the GIS platform, as the satellite imagery will give on-ground progress periodically and progress of the projects will be updated on a regular basis on the portal)

Not just this, but it (it being the PM Gati Shakti Plan) would in turn help toward the ease of doing business and the Ease of Living.

To conclude, in my opinion, the plan seems to have painted a rosy picture for the holistic development of the nation. However, as I love to lay my emphasis on the growing red-tapism, clenching jaws of dirty politics, and siphoning of funds for the own nefarious and other purposes, would this project be the type of project envisioned by the Prime Minister?

Multiple questions would come to the tongue of the readers, and the readers shouldn’t be even afraid to ask about it. After all, FoSE is an integral part of democracy, if used judiciously!

By Abeer Tiwari

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