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NEW DELHI : The Union government has identified 196 critical infrastructure gap projects for work under the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan, a top government official said. The government launched the ambitious PM Gati Shakti last year to provide multimodal connectivity infrastructure.

Critical infrastructure gap projects are pre-existing projects that need improvement for capacity addition. According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) secretary Anurag Jain, various ministries are doing infrastructure audits to identify critical last and first-mile infrastructure gaps.

“So far, 196 critical infrastructure gap projects pertaining to port connectivity and movement of coal, steel and food products have been identified, on which the Network Planning Group (NPG) is coordinating with the concerned ministries. For instance, the entire rail stretch between Punjab to Assam has a 95 km single rail stretch. If the single rail of 95 km is converted into double trains between Gorakhpur to Valmiki Nagar, capacity will rise up to 15 rakes per day," Jain said.

According to DPIIT special secretary Amrit Lal Meena, about 14 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, have formed their state-level logistics policies, and 13 state logistics policies are in the draft stage.

Officials further said that various ministries, including telecom, railways, road transport, and food & public distribution, have started using the platform for infrastructure planning and decision making.

Jain said the resolution of issues for time-bound project implementation had gained momentum through the Project Monitoring Group (PMG) mechanism, and about 1,300 issues have been resolved in the last eight months.

“Out of 1,300 issues, 40% issues relate to land availability. 25-30% of issues are of environmental clearances, 15% are on the right of use and right of way," Jain said.

The Union government is set to announce the National Logistics Policy (NLP) on 17 September, which is intended to bring down logistics costs and address challenges plaguing importers and exporters.

Logistics costs in the country are as high as 14-15% of the GDP compared to developed nations such as Singapore and the US, which have managed to cap this cost at 7-8% of the GDP and leveraged it to boost exports. Jain said the NLP aims to bring down the cost to 8% of the GDP by 2030.

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