Two years ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti (PMGS) scheme to get rid of the inter-ministerial knots and fast-track implementation of projects. The scheme was aimed at the execution of projects across India by setting up a multi-modal transport network that cut down on the cost of logistics. Additionally, it could make India an even greater force in exports.
Now, according to reports, states have been regularly using the Gati Shakti master plan to digitally map assets and plan social and physical infrastructure. Examples of these uses include identifying water bodies for irrigation in Gujarat’s Dahod, locating schools and colleges in underserved areas of Uttar Pradesh, and conducting area development planning around the Bichom dam in Arunachal Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh is using Pahunch (reach), its state master plan portal, to find places in underserved areas where new high schools and intermediate colleges should be built.
“Through Gati Shakti, one can see the data of different ministries. You don’t need to knock at their doors, you don’t need to wait for data. Visualisation of data is better, which helps in planning,” Sumita Dawra, special secretary, logistics, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), was quoted as saying by The Print.
“If the state plans to put up 100 new high schools, they can use Gati Shakti NMP to see how far away from habitations the schools would be, and also check other data layers such as road connectivity to the schools, distance of primary health centre, whether there are playgrounds around, etc. Pahunch is a classic case of convergence,” she added.
Officials in Dahod found the existence of water bodies they were unaware of because they were under the jurisdiction of the railway ministry. They viewed the district’s data layers on the Gati Shakti NMP portal.
“Now, the district collector has started making plans to utilise that water through drip irrigation to irrigate the land in the vicinity. The district official became aware of the presence of water bodies through visualisation. That is the strength which Gati Shakti brings,” Dawra told the portal.
According to Dawra, using the NMP to plan the 300 km Gujarat coastal corridor has also resulted in a reduction of the number of no-objection certificates needed for clearance (from the mining, coastal regulation zone, forest, and other departments) from 28 to 13.
Four districts—Bharuch, Surat, Navsari, and Valsad—that encompass popular tourist spots like Dandi, Ubhrat, and Tithal will be connected by the corridor.
Similarly, Arunachal Pradesh’s government observed via the Gati Shakti portal that a sizable area of undeveloped land surrounding the Bichom dam was lying idle, The Print report highlighted.
All 36 states and Union territories have completed data mapping and are now part of the Gati Shakti NMP. Twenty-two of the 39 ministries that have joined at the central level are related to the social sector.
Dawra said that over 200 data layers, including primary healthcare facilities, post offices, hostels, colleges, especially vulnerable tribal groups, etc., have been mapped and that 22 social ministries/departments have been onboarded on the Gati Shakti NMP portal thus far.
Gati Shakti is also used by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to efficiently plan the locations of Anganwadi (childcare) centres. On the NMP, more than ten lakh Anganwadi centres have been mapped.
In a similar vein, the education department has mapped PM Shri schools and is currently working on mapping primary health centres and Anganwadis, two relevant layers of care facilities.
According to people in the know, the Railway Ministry has approved location surveys eight times more quickly through the use of Gati Shakti NMP than it has in the past. In the financial year 2022, 447 final location surveys were identified and approved, as opposed to 57 in the previous year.