The Central government has made it simpler and cheaper for various entities to set up a range of infrastructure on Railway land on long-term lease. These including cargo-related enterprises, public utilities, renewable energy projects and even schools.
- Private players in the cargo movement business have been requesting the Central government to bring down Railway land-leasing rates.
- Currently, the Indian Railways gives Railway land on lease with annual lease charge of 6 per cent and annual escalation of 7 per cent for the remaining lease period or 35 years.
What policy changes have been introduced?
- Under the new land policy, setting up of cargo terminals and cargo-related activities on Railway land will attract a rate of 1.5 per cent of current market value of land per annum with a 6 per cent annual increment accounting for inflation, for up to 35 years.
- Through the new land policy, the Central government envisages cargo-related activities to be taken up by any player, be it PSU, Railways, private players, existing and future players.
- Renewable energy plants, water recycling and treatment plants are to be for exclusive use of Railways while social infrastructure like schools and hospitals may be for Railway beneficiaries and the public at large.
- The changes introduced are in line with the one of the key concepts of the PM Gati Shakti programme which is to bring all infrastructure and utility projects in sync with each other.
About PM Gati Shakti –
- The Prime Minister Gati Shakti – National Master Plan was announced in 2021.
- It is essentially a digital platform to bring 16 Ministries including Railways and Roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.
- The multi-modal connectivity will provide integrated and seamless connectivity for movement of people, goods and services from one mode of transport to another.
- It will facilitate the last mile connectivity of infrastructure and also reduce travel time for people.
Six pillars of PM Gati-Shakti –
- Comprehensiveness —
- It will include all the existing and planned initiatives of various Ministries and Departments with one centralised portal.
- Each and every Department will now have visibility of each other’s activities providing critical data while planning & execution of projects in a comprehensive manner.
- Prioritisation — Through this, different Departments will be able to prioritise their projects through cross-sectoral interactions.
- Optimisation –
- The National Master Plan will assist different ministries in planning for projects after identification of critical gaps.
- For the transportation of the goods from one place to another, the plan will help in selecting the most optimum route in terms of time and cost.
- Synchronisation –
- Individual Ministries and Departments often work in silos.
- There is lack of coordination in planning and implementation of the project resulting in delays.
- PM Gati Shakti will help in synchronising the activities of each department, as well as of different layers of governance, in a holistic manner by ensuring coordination of work between them.
- Analytical – The plan will provide the entire data at one place with GIS based spatial planning and analytical tools having 200+ layers, enabling better visibility to the executing agency.
- Dynamic –
- All Ministries and Departments will now be able to visualise, review and monitor the progress of cross-sectoral projects, through the GIS platform.
- Satellite imagery will give on-ground progress periodically and progress of the projects will be updated on a regular basis on the portal.
- It will help in identifying the vital interventions for enhancing and updating the master plan.
Targets under PM-Gati Shakti –
- The Rs 100 lakh crore national master plan includes 11 industrial corridors, achieving a Rs 1.7 lakh crore turnover in defence production and having 38 electronics manufacturing clusters and 109 pharmaceutical clusters by 2024-25.
- Besides cutting logistics costs, the scheme is also aimed at increasing cargo handling capacity and reducing the turnaround time at ports to boost trade.
- It also aims to have 11 industrial corridors and two new defence corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and other in Uttar Pradesh. Extending 4G connectivity to all villages is another aim. Adding 17,000 kms to the gas pipeline network is being planned.
- It will help in fulfilling the ambitious targets set by the government for 2024-25, including expanding the length of the national highway network to 2 lakh kms, creation of more than 200 new airports, heliports and water aerodromes.
- It has fixed targets up to 2024-25 for all infrastructure ministries.
- Implementing Agency — National Networking Group will consist of experts or officials from all the stakeholder departments.