Saturday, 13 August 2011

Gujarat roads closer to international standards: WB - Times Of India

A top Planning Commission study, supported by World Bank, has said that Gujarat offers an example of international best practice in roads management. Authored by Clell Harral, Graham Smith and William DO Paterson, the study 'Lessons from International Experience: Road Asset Management' provides guidelines to the National Transport Development Policy Committee of Planning Commission on how reforms in Gujarat in the roads sector come closer to international standards for other states and developing countries to follow.

Presenting a comparison of roads sector management in South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Argentina, Indonesia and India, with reference to Gujarat and Karnataka, the study has found four major reforms undertaken in Gujarat since late 1990s that make the state exemplary.

These include reduced share of administrative cost in the capital and maintenance budget from 30% to 16% during 2000-2007; reduced maintenance backlog by half from 10,000 km to 5,000 km; increased annual plan budget for roads from $26 million in 1995-96 (4.9% of the annual plan) to $550 million (9.3%) in 2010-11. The study also hails initiatives like doubling of funds for routine and periodic maintenance by 2008-09 compared to 1998-99 and reducing of labour force by 40% and operational force by 15% as labour productivity grew with the improved tools, organisation, and management. Gujarat has also excelled in bringing about a very close collaboration between government and private sector, having a sustainable planning based on holistic cost analysis, outsourcing and engineering functions as well as execution of main roads, monitoring quantitative performance by posting main performance indicators on internet, and plans to implement a new monitoring system, according to the study.

"The study is based on an analysis of about 40,000 kmlong state roads, including 16,000 km of state highways and 20,000 km of district main roads," said a senior official

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