Modi Says India Can’t Afford to Go Slow on New Infrastructure

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday outlined a master plan to dismantle silos within the government to enable India to seamlessly build infrastructure projects and improve ease of doing business.

The government will map all new projects spanning road, rail, air transport apart from gas and other utilities on a single platform to remove disruptions to planning, monitoring and implementation under the so-called ‘PM GatiShakti National Master Plan.’ It will allow various ministries to periodically update data and lead to greater coordination.

Budgetary Resources

“Every department makes its own plans and typically the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing,” Modi said, citing the example of how new roads were laid only to be dug up later by the water pipes or the telecom department. “These silos result in wastage of budgetary resources and India can no longer afford these bottlenecks,” he said.

The initiative comes as India targets spending $1.5 trillion in roads, railways, ports and gas pipelines, which are key for attracting investments and creating jobs in Asia’s third-largest economy as it recovers from a pandemic-induced downturn.

Investments and Infrastructure

The master plan aims to nearly double the network of highways to over 200,000 kilometers and the number of airports to 220 by March 2025, and double the length of gas pipelines to 34,500 km, among others, during that period.

The International Monetary Fund sees India’s gross domestic product expanding 9.5% in the year to March after contracting 7.3% last year. While the forecast is for the economy to grow 8.5% next year, the outlook depends on the nation’s ability to create jobs and boost consumption, which accounts for some 60% of GDP. For that, India needs investments and infrastructure to attract businesses. (BloombergQuint)