The ‘2023 Regional Cooperation and Integration Conference: Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Integration through Economic Corridor Development (ECD),’ witnessed participation from more than 30 member countries, including senior officials from ADB’s Developing Member Countries, representatives of development partner agencies, and regional cooperation organisations, stated the Ministry of Commerce and Industry press release.
Led by Sumita Dawra, Special Secretary (Logistics) of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Indian delegation showcased the transformative PM Gatishakti National Master Plan.This initiative, termed ‘Made in India,’ is a comprehensive approach to integrated planning for multimodal infrastructure connectivity, aimed at enhancing logistics efficiency and socio-economic development.
Primary Objective of the Conference
The primary objectives of the conference were twofold- first, to explore ways to integrate spatial transformation and area-centric approaches into Economic Corridor Development (ECD), strengthening regional cooperation; second, to share knowledge on the application of the ECD framework and operational guidelines for investable projects, read the press release.
Dawra emphasised that PM Gatishakti goes beyond infrastructure connectivity, focusing on socio-economic area-based development as part of regional connectivity.She highlighted the Indian government’s targeted investments in infrastructure, its adoption of geospatial and cutting-edge technologies, and the positive impact on both Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Living, said the release.
The release stated, “PM Gatishakti National Master Plan is a GIS data-based digital platform with over 1400 data layers and 50+ tools. It provides visual representation of trunk and utility infrastructure, land use, existing structures, soil quality, habitation, tourism sites, forest-sensitive areas, and more.”This platform enables data-driven decision-making, including site suitability assessments.
One of the notable features of PM Gatishakti is its spatial/area-based holistic development approach, focusing on critical project locations, industrial clusters, tourist sites, and social sector assets.This approach ensures that connectivity infrastructure aligns with the manufacturing value chain, logistics facilities, and social sector institutions such as schools and hospitals.
PM Gatishakti has played a pivotal role in extending India’s multimodal corridors, including industrial road corridors, rail freight corridors, and waterway networks, thereby enhancing regional connectivity and trade with neighbouring countries, read the release.
Since its launch, the program has evaluated 100 projects worth USD 71.26 billion, demonstrating its effectiveness in optimising infrastructure development and minimising investment risks, read the release.Dawra cited examples of projects like the Indo-Nepal Haldia Access Controlled Corridor and the Regional Waterways Grid, showcasing how PM Gatishakti has bolstered connectivity with regional partners.
Furthermore, Dawra suggested that ADB and partner countries could draw valuable lessons from PM Gatishakti’s approach for broadening the scope of their regional cooperation programs.By integrating area-centric growth models, similar benefits of time and cost savings in project planning and reduced carbon footprint of infrastructure projects could be achieved, said the release.
In addition to PM Gatishakti, Dawra presented India’s other digital initiatives in the logistics sector, such as the Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) and Logistics Data Bank (LDB).
These initiatives enhance trade facilitation and ease of logistics through various functionalities, attracting private-sector investments.
Overall, India’s PM Gatishakti approach for spatial transformation and area-based infrastructure development is poised to build Next Generation Infrastructure while promoting Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business.
India generously offered its indigenously developed GIS-based technology to ADB and SASEC countries for enhancing socio-economic planning and regional cooperation, stated the release.
The conference served as a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration, with India’s innovative strategies taking centre stage in the quest for regional integration and development.