Budget 2023-24 is likely to provide for higher financial support for critical infrastructure gap projects under the Gati Shakti Mission that have been identified, but are yet to be approved and funded.
“The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has got in touch with various Ministries, including steel, railway, road, coal, ports, fertilizer and food and public distribution, asking them to get approval for the critical infrastructure gap projects under their domain that had been identified but not approved,” an official tracking the matter told businessline.
The approval is given by the Network Planning Group (NPG), consisting of heads of the network planning wing of respective infrastructure ministries. “The relevant department under the Finance Ministry will make a list of such projects, calculate the amount required for implementation and come up with the total allocation required,” the official added.
Since the Gati Shakti Mission was announced in September 2021, the government has identified over 200 critical infrastructure gap projects across key areas of port connectivity, steel, coal, fertilisers, and food and public distribution. While some of the projects have been approved, there are many that need approval so that they can be implemented on a priority basis, the official said.
PM Gati Shakti — national master plan for multi-modal connectivity, a ₹100-lakh crore project, is a digital platform to bring 16 Ministries, including railways and roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.
The logistics division at DPIIT is driving the initiative. A project monitoring group (PMG) under the DPIIT monitors the progress of key projects in real-time.
In April 2022, the Finance Ministry had announced the ‘Scheme for Special Assistance to the States for Capital Investment’ with proposed allocation of ₹1-lakh crore to assist States in catalysing overall investments in the economy for 2022-23. These 50-year interest-free loans were over and above the normal borrowings allowed to the States, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said.
How much more?
About ₹5,000 crore of the ₹1-lakh crore was for PM Gati Shakti-related expenditure, most of which has already been allocated by the Department of Expenditure, the official said.
“The Finance Minister has to take a final call on the kind of funding to be extended to Gati Shakti critical gap infrastructure projects in 2023-24. It is likely to depend on the calculations based on the additional projects that are approved,” the official added.