Nearly one and a half years after its launch, Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation (Pragati) is turning out to be quite a help for the Modi government as it tries to speed up development schemes.
Official figures show that the mechanism rolled out on March 25 last year has pushed 136 projects involving investment of around Rs 8 lakh crore. While the focus is on infrastructure at a time when the private sector continues to be reluctant to invest, the ambit of Pragati is not limited to power, roads or railways alone.
Every project or issue taken up at Pragati meetings comes with a deadline, which government agencies have to adhere to. Officials said that with the PM personally involved, even state governments were complying with the deadline set for projects involving them.
There are projects such as the Nangal Dam-Talwara railway line, which has been pending since 1981-82, where the Punjab government has now been advised to speed up handing over the remaining land besides giving forest clearance “immediately”.
Over the last 18 months, 136 issues have been discussed at the level of the PM with several projects being of strategic importance, like a transmission system in the Kargil-Drass-Leh area. At times, projects funded by the Indian government in Afghanistan, Myanmar and Bhutan have been discussed. For instance, the parliament project in Afghanistan and hydro-power project in Bhutan were on Pragati’s agenda.
In general, the theme has varied from the use of space technology for monitoring progress of schemes to better implementation of welfare programmes. Often, Modi surprises officers. For example, while discussing the progress on building a bridge, he is learnt to have pulled out a photograph to illustrate how progress had been slow, sources said.
“This is the PM’s unique initiative of resolving bottlenecks in project implementation, cutting delays, reviewing the progress of flagship government initiatives and keeping tabs on handling and resolution of public grievances,” an officer said.
Usually, towards the end of the month, on Wednesday afternoons, Modi focuses on the social sector and immediate challenges confronting states when he sits down in South Block and tries to remove hurdles with secretaries at the Centre and state chief secretaries through a video link. For instance, the Prime Minister discussed the issues affecting passport seva kendras and ex-servicemen. Similarly, the immunisation programme under Indradhanush, disbursal of scholarships for students in Jammu & Kashmir, eradication of Kala Azar and leprosy and literacy programmes have been discussed.