‘ROADS, HIGHWAYS WILL CONTRIBUTE 2% TO GDP GROWTH’
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari describes his first year in office as one where the Union Government drew
up a cohesive roadmap and laid the right foundation
Road Transport is a critical infrastructure for economic development of a country. It influences the pace, structure and pattern of development. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways encompasses construction and maintenance of National Highways (NHS), administration of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, National Highways Act, 1956 and National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, formulation of broad policies relating to road transport, environmental issues, automotive norms etc. besides making arrangements for movements of vehicular traffic with neighbouring countries.
According to Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) Nitin Gadkari, the highway sector was facing a crisis of confidence and all the stakeholders were in complete disarray when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government took over in May last year.
In the past year, the ministry, under the guidance and leadership of Gadkari, has been able to spin the wheel and collective endeavour has undoubtedly contributed in nation building. “Our one-year report card is a success story of the priority we accorded to the revival of stalled, delayed and terminated projects. The private sector is once again evincing keen interest in infrastructure. This is a major turnaround we have been able to bring about in one-
Our one-year report card is a success story of the priority we accorded to the
revival of stalled, delayed and terminated projects. The private sector is once again
evincing keen interest in infrastructure. This is a major
turnaround we have been able to bring about in a year
Nitin Gadkari Minister of Road Transport and
Highways & Shipping
year,” Gadkari after the completion of oneyear of Modi government in the office.
“This year essentially has been a year of laying the right foundation for the road and highway sector. I set for myself a target of highway construction of 30 km per day within two years. We have already taken a leap of 40 per cent – from 3 km per day during the UPA regime to 13 km per day. We have a long way to go to achieve our target. We are moving in the right direction. I have full confidence in my team of dedicated officers and other skilled human resources at our disposal. We will not only achieve our target but may go beyond that as well,” the MORTH minister said.
Spelling out the achievements of his ministry in the first year, Gadkari said, “We are in the process of introducing a new ‘Road Transport and Safety’ legislation replacing the outdated Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. The draft act is already available for consideration of all the stakeholders. I sincerely hope to place it before Parliament in the next session after Cabinet approval. Efficiency and transparency in administration has been the main focus of our governance. We have introduced a number of Itbased a-governance initiatives, such as e-following, e-pay, DWC/ODC approvals in the road and highway sector.”
Talking about government’s initiatives to check road accidents, Gadkari said, “Road accidents are our major concern. To minimize road mishaps and provide timely medical assistance to the injured is our top priority. We are launching a 24x7 toll free number 1033. Stringent provisions – levy of ten times of fee for overloaded vehicles, installing of weighin-motion system to prevent over1oading are on the anvil. We have commissioned a study of black spots. Computer-based driving test system is already in operation and scientific traffic survey using Automatic Traffic Counter and Classifier systems have been put in place.”
For seamless movement, the ministry has introduced RFID based electronic toll
collection system “FASTAG”. A common platform for infrastructure and materials providers “INAM-PRO” has been commissioned. We are also providing world class amenities to road users along National Highways. The infrastructure sector is the backbone of any economy and I often quote John F Kennedy’s words - “American roads are good not because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good”, said Gadkari.
While talking about the role of his ministry in GDP growth terms, Gadkari said, “I have set a target for my ministry to contribute 2 per cent in the GDP growth. I am confident that under the dynamic leadership of our visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with the help of all stakeholders we will certainly fulfill the people’s expectations. One year is too short a period, but in this span of time we have covered 25 per cent of our targets. A lot more needs to be done. All of us have been working tirelessly. Our resolve is to put in more than 100 per cent of our efforts in achieving our goal. We have definitely made a positive beginning in the right earnest and are bound to succeed in our mission to take India on the path of progress and development.”
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION MODES FOR HIGHWAYS
A. Build-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll B. Bot-annuity C. Hybrid Annuity Model (above three
are PPP variants) D. Engineering, Procurement and
Construction (EPC)— public funded
PREFERRED MODE OF IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECTS
The highways sector in the country has, of late, been facing difficulties in the award and implementation of project stretches, particularly through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. This is due to overall economic downturn as well as sector specific issues. Although no effort is being spared by the ministry in identifying and addressing sector-specific issues in consultation with the stakeholders, it is a fact that availability of equity in the market will be a critical factor.
Till such time, it is considered prudent to pursue the public funded, or EPC mode of implementation as the preferred mode, subject of course to the availability of resources. As a consequence, with increased award of projects, the highways construction sector is fast regaining its lost momentum and more importantly, financial liquidity would become increasingly available in the sector. As the market reaches a certain level of maturity and stability with the private sector regaining confidence, the government intends to gradually switch back to PPP mode, with a judicious combination of Hybrid Annuity and BOT (Toll), as the preferred mode of implementation.
Following the above strategy, during 2014-15 the ministry has awarded works for 7,980 km which is more than doubled the length of 3621 km awarded during the previous financial year i.e. 2013-14 and substantially higher than the 1,916 km awarded during 2012-13. Out of the 7,980 km, the works awarded on BOT basis however, were only 734 km.
The 7,980 km awarded during the year are spread all over the country. These works were awarded under National Highway Development Projects (NHDP), Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-east (SARDPNE), development of roads in Left Wing Extremism Affected area (LWE), National Highway Interconnectivity Improvement Programme (NHIIP) and National Highway (original works) schemes. The ministry intends to increase the pace for award so as to have adequate works in hand and achieve accelerated road development in the country.
E-GOVERNANCE INITIATIVES OF MORTH
Reforming governance through technology includes e-tendering, electronic toll collection (ETC), national highways toll information system (NHTIS), integrated vehicle registration and driving licensing system, CCTV surveillance system, enterprise resource (ERP) solution, project management information system (PMIS), automatic traffic counter and classifier system, weigh-in motion (WIM) system and automatic vehicle counter & classifier (AVCC) system.
E-kranti: Electronic delivery of services includes ‘FASTAG’ based electronic toll collection system, online bill payment, overweight cargo (OWC) overdimensional cargo (ODC).
Information for all includes national highways toll information system, 24X7
helpline for national highways users, roads & highways information system, e- Rajmarg newsletter. Universal access to mobile connectivity includes facilitation of telecom infrastructure along national highways. The other e-governance initiatives of MORTH include e- Samiksha, e- office (paperless office), revamping of website of the ministry, simplification of the procedures leveraging the use of information technology.
Electronic Toll Collection (ETC):
Along with automatic vehicle counter and classifier (AVCC), weigh-in-motion (WIM), CCTV and static weigh bridge facilities --- across all operational toll plazas of the country is in progress. ‘Fastag’ programme was launched on October 31 last year for Delhi-mumbai highway.
A web portal www.nhtis.org has been launched to make available to road users, information of public interest concerning toll plazas on national highways/ expressways operating under the MORTH and NHAI. This includes the applicable user fee rates for various categories of vehicles at any toll plaza.
Online web based application for Bill processing monitoring system for regional offices has already been rolled out. Tracking the status of the Bills is now in the public domain.
Bridge design cell: The bridge design cell has been set up at IAHE, NOIDA, which was inaugurated by Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on February 2, 2015 and is equipped with latest software for design of roads and bridges. A web enabled online application and approval system for overweight cargo (OWC) over dimensional cargo (ODC) has already been rolled out. Recently, e-news letter of NHAI titled erajmarg has been launched.
Simplification of Process: Substantial numbers of forms have been prescribed in terms of CMVRS. Proposed Draft Road Transport & Safety Bill 2015 addresses inter alia this aspect.
Digitisation of records: The digitisation of records in the ministry is in progress. Recording and weeding of files have been undertaken and around 4,760 files have been recorded and 5,718 files have been weeded out.
Online issue of national permit has been initiated by the ministry. Overloading in vehicles is not only detrimental to the economic life of the highways and the roads on which the mechanical vehicles ply but also leads to larger safety related issues. In order to enforce the relevant provisions of the
MV Act, 1988 and NH (fee) Rules, 2008, weighin-motion bridge, along with AVCC system will be installed at all toll plazas on national highways.
e PACE: Projects appraisal & continuing enhancements (EPACE) is an online tool to monitor and improve the progress of works at the click of a button. The initiative captures the static and dynamic information for all the projects executed by MORTH, NHAI and NHIDCL. The information captured is across the lifecycle of the projects starting from inception till its completion. The system has role based access and would allow capturing the project information and would help in monitoring and accelerating the pace of the projects. The tool would allow supervisory levels to set monthly/yearly targets and enable field units/staff to update the information in real time.
More than 1,500 projects’ data has so far been entered. The information would be available in public domain. MIS in various forms would also help the stakeholders to cull out the necessary information. This would also be a precursor to develop ‘over the top applications’ through cloud sourcing wherein project photographs/videos can be uploaded to collate and compare the official information.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution: The first of its kind project, funded by World Bank Technical Assistance (TA) through DEA, is under implementation by the MORTH and the NHAI would provide MORTH and NHAI the opportunity to integrate their entire organisational set up and business processes. It would also ensure connectivity among the headquarters, toll plaza locations, project implementation units (PIUS) and regional offices. The outcome would be efficient state-of-the-art operations leading to enhanced service delivery in terms of providing quality road infrastructure to the nation.
INAM-PRO: END OF CEMENT CARTELISATION
A platform for infrastructure and material providers, particularly cement, for linking the supplier to the road contractors/users (INAM-PRO) was launched on March 3, 2015. The portal will facilitate the monitoring of the supply of cement and expedite the process of placing purchase orders by the prospective users/user agencies with the respective cement manufacturers. The portal, designed by the MORTH shall ensure complete transparency in the supply of cement under the scheme, so as to achieve reduction in the cost of construction of rigid pavement.
“INAM-PRO” is a web-based application (www.inampro.nic.in) for infrastructure and materials providers and would act as a common platform for providers of infrastructure material viz. cement companies, infrastructure providers, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and other stakeholders. To start with, it would facilitate contractors/cement buyers engaged in executing the central/ state funded roads and highways/bridge construction projects to place cement orders online with the registered cement companies offering their product at competitive rates in the vicinity of project execution locations.
As cement is manufactured indigenously and bitumen is a by product of imported crude oil, the use of cement for national highways is in right earnest with the ‘Make in India’ campaign. This platform aims not only to bring down the cost of inputs for the infrastructure projects but also to create a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.
In his address, secretary, MORTH, Vijay Chhibber had said that the portal provides a buyer- seller platform without any intermediary. With a focus on cement industry, this innovation would make the factories utilize their capacity to full potential, he had added.
Cement companies are facilitated to update their offered stock on the portal with the prices agreed upon with the MORTH. They would in turn get an instant intimation about the orders placed, and would be able to approve the delivery schedules as requested by the cement buyers without hassles and delays. This would also help cement companies plan their annual production in advance and schedule deliveries with better precision.
In addition, by using INAM-PRO, the cement companies would be able to track orders, add more products (grade/type), add cement offerings, view listed buyers, and submit their complaints/suggestions to the ministry. Similarly, buyers would be able to view and track the orders placed with different companies and also submit their suggestions/complaints.
MEASURES TAKEN TO PROMOTE ELECTRONIC TOLL COLLECTION (ETC)
The ministry has launched FASTAG, a new electronic toll collection programme which will enable road users to pay the necessary toll electronically without needing to stop at toll plazas. This FASTAG facilitates seamless travel through single RFID tag along the corridor. ETC system in one lane in each direction has already been installed at 196 toll plazas and all 302 plazas should be complete by October in this year.
Government has made it mandatory to include ETC lane in all new highway projects. Vehicles of FASTAG users will have radio frequency identification (RFID) tag which will be affixed on the windshield. Toll plazas will have dedicated ETC lanes called FASTAG lanes, which will have colour coding for identification. These FASTAG lanes will be fitted with readers that will read the unique number on the tag and the appropriate amount as per the class of vehicle will be automatically deducted from the account of the user. The RFID tags will help in reducing the time road users spend waiting at toll plazas, which in turn will cut down on the total travelling time.
TRANSPORT & SAFETY INITIATIVES
Cashless treatment of victims: Pilot projects are being implemented. The objective of the project is to save lives of accident victims by providing prompt
The last one year has been a period of intense and focused activity in the national highway, roads and transport sector. A record length of 7,980 km of NHS was awarded for construction during the year and construction of 4,340 km of NH was completed. This momentum is proposed to be further stepped up in the current Financial Year. In parallel, over 5,000 km of new NHS have been declared thus increasing the NH grid aimed at enhancing the capacity of the highways to provide better logistics and thereby overall economic development of the country Vijay Chhibber Secretary, Road Transport and Highways
Union minister Nitin Gadkari with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee