At a February 24 review meeting, whose minutes ET has reviewed, Modi has directed that planning for all infrastructure projects “should be redesigned to adopt a pragmatic and a commercial approach”. This would involve a project being compartmentalised into sections that can be operationalised as and when ready, the PM has directed, as per the minutes. “Ministries, departments, states and UTs (union territories) could adopt this methodology for all infrastructure projects in the future. Cabinet secretary to study this and issue suitable instructions to the ministries concerned,” the minutes have noted regarding the PM’s directions.
ET has learnt that the new methodology has since been under preparation under cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba.
This could fundamentally change how infrastructure projects are delivered in the country and ensure people get the benefit of such projects on the ground much quicker, a senior government official told ET. The official cited the example of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Train project which is expected to be operationalised in the Gujarat section earlier than in Maharashtra, or the Delhi-Meerut Expressway which has been operationalised in sections since 2019 with the road to be fully ready by the end of this month.
Inviting global CEOs at the World Economic Forum in January to invest in India, Modi had said India would have infrastructure needs worth $4.5 trillion by 2040. At the February 24 meeting, the PM expressed his concerns over delays being observed in the execution of some infrastructure projects, and directed that all pending issues be resolved in a time-bound manner in Mission Mode.
Act East, PM directs
At the February 24 meeting, the PM also directed that priority be accorded by central ministries and state governments on infrastructure projects like rail and road in the eastern part of India. This came while the PM was reviewing projects like doubling of a 159-km railway line in Jharkhand, the 45-km capital connectivity project between Sivok and Rangpo in West Bengal and Sikkim, the Jagdishpur-Haldia-Dhamra pipeline project in Odisha and West Bengal, and a 350-km road project between Aizawl and Tuipang in Mizoram. The PM described the last project as an “important part” of India’s ‘Act East Policy’, while directing for speedy completion of all the said projects.
Modi said the Jagdishpur-Dhamra pipeline project should be completed by the petroleum ministry in Odisha by the end of 2021 and in the West Bengal stretch by June 30, 2022.
The PM also directed that states accord priority to roads constructed under the Bharatmala Pariyojana and provide the necessary support for timely completion, while reviewing an economic corridor project in Tamil Nadu. He has also asked for “special attention” to be paid to the quality of the roads constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) and a mechanism be developed for ensuring that the projects adhere to good quality, according to the minutes.
Modi said at the meeting that regions where the terrain is a constraining factor (like in J&K), a differentiated strategy and plan be formulated regarding the PMGSY.
Modi has directed the Ministry of Environment to issue the final notification on single-use plastic by July 2021, and said all states should form a special task force to work on the elimination of the material in a mission mode. “Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and all states should launch a targeted and wider awareness campaign and organise a hackathon and seek to engage startups to promote innovations in areas of alternate materials, recycling, circular economy etc.,” the PM said.