Nitin Gadkari, union minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, has unveiled several IT initiatives to bolster e-governance.
Gadkari said that his ministry has brought in many policy changes to streamline procedures and ease out road blocks like land acquisition, environment clearances and paucity of funds.
The Government announced several technological initiatives such as satellite based road asset management system, use of concrete for road construction, electronic toll collection and INAMPRO — aimed at making the road building procedure faster, transparent and efficient.
Gadkari also launched ePACE, INFRACON and an updated version of INAMPRO, three innovative IT initiatives of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, developed in house by NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation)
ePACE (Projects Appraisal & Continuing Enhancements) is an online integrated Management Information System that brings projects from all wings of the Ministry under a common platform, ensuring their effective and real time tracking.
The portal has listed more than 2000 projects being executed by multiple agencies. It offers any information about their real time status, fund utilization etc. The portal offers information regarding projects in any particular state free of cost.
In addition, the portal allows for validation checks to prevent wrongful entries, making it difficult to fudge figures. It has provision to obtain reports in multiple formats with graphical interface for monitoring.
It has a GIS interface to enable geo-tracking of the projects. The application has a data export engine for feeding into other applications. The architecture of the application is scalable and customizable. The ePACE platform is amenable to be used for monitoring projects pertaining to any ministry in the country and can improve governance of such projects.
INFRACON is the National Portal for Infrastructure Consultancy Firms and Key Personnel. This portal acts as a bridge between consultancy firms working in the road engineering and construction sector and domain experts and key personnel who are deployed both for project preparation and supervision.
The portal hosts the credentials of consultancy firms and key personnel and has linkages to Aadhar and Digi-locker for data validation and purity. 474 consultancy firms and 2387 key personnel under various categories are already registered with the portal.
In addition, agencies within the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, like the NHIDCL can receive technical proposals through INFRACON. This leads to a reduction of paper work during bid submissions and brings in more transparency and speed since the evaluation of technical bids.
INAM PRO, a web based market place, was launched in March 2015 to facilitate contractors and cement buyers engaged in executing central/state funded roads and highways and bridge construction projects to place cement orders online with the registered cement companies offering cement at competitive rates. Cement companies are facilitated to update their offered stocks and the prices on the portal.
Cement companies also have the facility to increase the cement stock offerings based on market demand and reduce prices to attract more buyers. In addition, using INAM Pro, companies are able to track orders, add more products , add cement offerings, view listed buyers, and submit their complaints or suggestions to ministry.
Buyers can track the orders placed with different companies and also submit their suggestions or complaints. With the help of INAM Pro, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is able to track and monitor the activities of buyers and suppliers, and remove impediments of both the parties.
The minister also released the IT Task Force Report — suggesting new ways to use IT to make the Indian transport sector more efficient and transparent.