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Infrastructure: With eye on 2019 elections, Narendra Modi orders all departments to shorten deadlines, lay out roadmap up to 2020

The Prime Minister’s Office has told all departments to take stock of projects and programmes and provide a road map up to March 2020.

Infrastructure, Narendra Modi, government projects, Dedicated Freight Corridor, Railway ministry, demonetisation , Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana
The Prime Minister’s Office has told all departments to take stock of projects and programmes and provide a road map up to March 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all government departments to bring forward the deadlines for flagship projects. Besides, the Prime Minister’s Office has told all departments to take stock of projects and programmes and provide a road map up to March 2020. The intent is that at least a host of big projects are completed before the 2019 general elections and the benefits of welfare programmes reach the intended beneficiaries on a massive scale before the polls. Sources said that ministries have been directed to closely monitor ongoing projects so that the shortened deadlines can be met without fail. “The idea is to identify projects which are of public importance and must be delivered on a priority basis,” said a person close to the development requesting not to be named.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project is one of the identified projects. The concerned department has been “sounded that come what may”, according to the person quoted above, major portions of the Eastern and Western DFC should be commissioned. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu recently held an overview meeting and has been given a commitment that December 2018 should be the final date for commissioning these DFCs, though February 2019 could be considered as well.

The government is keen to put on track infrastructure projects across sectors in play, in order to spur growth and attract investment. Despite demonetisation in November, the gross domestic product of the country for the December quarter was 7% and the government is hopeful it will shoot up to over 7.5% soon. Development, both in infrastructure and rural areas, was one of the prominent election planks of the National Democratic Alliance government, which came to power in May 2014. Since then, the Narendra Modi-led government has launched various programmes such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (to provide free LPG connections to BPL women), Sagarmala (to promote coastal shipping), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (to provide 24×7 electricity supply to all households), among many others. It also accelerated many projects started during the regime of the United Progressive Alliance government, such as Aadhaar and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, among others.

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The PMO, sources said, has also asked different departments to send across a list of projects up to March 2020 which can be launched soon with specific information such as location of the project, importance, cost, time duration and expected date for inauguration. “It has been desired to take stock of the projects/programmes which are ongoing and those which are in the pipeline. It is also desired to list out the projects which are ready for formal launching (inauguration or dedication) or which can be freshly initiated/foundation stone can be laid,” the PMO wrote in a communique to ministries and departments.

The letter has been reviewed by FE.

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