The finance ministry has proposed that the railways, road transport, and shipping ministries should conduct productivity tests for their completed projects. Similar assessments should also be carried out for Metro Rail projects. This continuous exercise will enable the government to evaluate the impact of these projects on the economy and people’s lives, considering the significant investment in creating infrastructure. The finance ministry has also requested the Niti Aayog to monitor the data generated by these tests and provide recommendations in consultation with the relevant ministries, a TOI report by Dipak K Dash stated.

During the evaluation of the high budget allocation for railways, which is set to increase from Rs 45,232 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 2.4 lakh crore in 2023-24, the issue of freight transportation came up. The finance ministry has asked the Niti Aayog to conduct a study to assess the optimal share of different modes of transportation for freight and develop a plan to rationalize it. Currently, road transport carries around 65 per cent of the freight, while rail accounts for approximately 20 per cent, despite the higher cost of transportation by road compared to rail and waterways. The railway ministry aims to increase its modal share to 40 per cent by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce logistics costs from the current 16 per cent of GDP to the global average of 8 per cent by 2030.

To facilitate the execution of projects related to multi-modal connectivity among the road transport, railway, and shipping ministries, the finance ministry has urged the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the commerce ministry to establish an institutional arrangement mechanism. The National Logistics Policy (NLP) also aims to promote the smooth movement of goods by developing multi-modal transport networks. The finance ministry has emphasized the need for collaborative planning of railway stations, ports, roads, waterways, and airports to ensure seamless freight movement.

The DPIIT recently announced that over 300 projects worth Rs 11.6 lakh crore, initiated by ministries and state government departments, have been evaluated using the ‘national master plan’ for integrated planning.

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