What Is the Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure?

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Key Takeaways:

  • The Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure is a comprehensive list of infrastructure sub-sectors in India.
  • It was created to facilitate coordination and optimal infrastructure development.
  • The list covers sub-sectors like transport, energy, water, communication and more.
  • It provides guidance to agencies involved in infrastructure projects.
  • The list is updated periodically to reflect economic priorities and include new sectors.


Infrastructure development is crucial for economic growth and improving quality of life in any country. The Indian government has emphasized building world-class infrastructure across sectors to boost productivity and competitiveness. This necessitates a coordinated approach among various agencies providing support for planning, financing and implementing infrastructure projects.

The Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure sub-sectors (HMLI) was formulated to serve as a guiding framework for infrastructure development in India. It aims to facilitate optimal utilization of financial, administrative and technological resources by different stakeholders.

This comprehensive guide will analyze the key features, objectives and significance of the HMLI. It evaluates how the list fosters systematic growth of infrastructure and its evolution to match contemporary economic realities. The article also examines the process for additions and updates to the list to incorporate emerging areas.

Developing a deep understanding of the Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure and its role in coordinated infrastructure build-out will benefit professionals across government agencies, infrastructure firms, consultants and think tanks engaged in this vital sector.

What is the Purpose and Scope of the Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure?

The HMLI provides a blueprint of the infrastructure landscape that requires focus for sustained growth and self-reliance. Its main objectives are:

  • Define the diverse infrastructure sub-sectors requiring development across India
  • Enable coordination between central, state and local agencies involved in infrastructure projects
  • Prioritize sub-sectors that need impetus based on economic potential
  • Attract investments from public and private players in line with national priorities
  • Allow flexibility to incorporate new emerging areas and future needs

The list covers infrastructure sub-sectors that need interventions across hard infrastructure like transport, energy and urban development as well as soft infrastructure like healthcare, education and tourism.

Who Formulated the List and How is it Updated?

The Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure was originally formulated in 2012 by the Sub-Group on Institutional Mechanism for Construction, Infrastructure and Miscellaneous Services under the Planning Commission.

It has been subsequently revised and updated by an Empowered Committee (EC) constituted by the Secretaries of Economic Ministries. The EC reviews and updates the list annually based on inputs from infrastructure ministries, NITI Aayog and priority sectors identified in the economic survey.

The dynamic list reflects the evolving economic landscape and changing needs of the country. Sub-sectors may be added or removed based on their significance for fuelling growth and employment. The list aims to cover spearhead sectors expected to catalyze large multiplier effects.

What are the Major Infrastructure Sub-Sectors Included in the List?

The HMLI categorizes infrastructure sub-sectors under three broad heads – Transport & Logistics, Energy and Social & Commercial Infrastructure.

Transport & Logistics Infrastructure

This covers infrastructure required to move goods and people efficiently. Key sub-sectors are:

  • Roads and bridges – National highways, state highways, rural roads, bridges, road transport terminals.
  • Railways – Tracks, locomotives, coaches, railway stations, dedicated freight corridors.
  • Ports – Major and minor ports, dry ports, jetties.
  • Airports – International and domestic airports, heliports, airstrips.
  • Inland waterways – National waterways, inland ports.
  • Logistic infrastructure – Warehouses, cold storage, testing facilities.

Energy Infrastructure

This encompasses infrastructure to meet energy needs across sources. Sub-sectors include:

  • Power generation – Thermal, hydro, nuclear, renewable energy plants.
  • Transmission networks – Inter-state and intra-state networks.
  • Distribution networks – Local distribution infrastructure.
  • Oil and gas infrastructure – Pipelines, city gas networks, LNG terminals.
  • Coal infrastructure – Washeries, merry-go-round systems, mines.
  • Renewable energy – Solar, wind, small hydro, bioenergy projects.

Social and Commercial Infrastructure

This infrastructure supports economic growth and community development. Key areas are:

  • Water and sanitation – Irrigation, drinking water supply, sewerage, solid waste management.
  • Communication – Telecom networks, data centers, towers.
  • Industrial infrastructure – Industrial parks, clusters, research institutes.
  • Tourism infrastructure – Hotels, convention centers, theme parks.
  • Education infrastructure – Schools, higher education institutions, vocational training centers.
  • Healthcare infrastructure – Hospitals, primary health centers, diagnostic centers.
  • Urban infrastructure – Affordable housing, stadiums, exhibition halls.

What are the Benefits of Referring to the Harmonised Master List?

The HMLI serves as a ready reckoner for infrastructure players in both the public and private domains. The key advantages of aligning plans as per the list are:

  • Optimal resource allocation – Enables directing finances and efforts towards nationally important areas.
  • Program implementation – Allows effective on-ground execution and monitoring of programs by mapping sub-sectors and agencies.
  • Enhanced coordination – Reduces duplication and overlaps between ministries, departments and programs.
  • Private sector participation – Signals priority areas for public-private partnerships and investment.
  • Informed decision making – Provides holistic perspective for long-term planning and policy.
  • Administrative convenience – Simplifies appraisal and approval of infrastructure projects.

How Does the List Promote Infrastructure Development in India?

The HMLI fosters systematic and streamlined infrastructure growth in the country through:

  • Defining development agenda – Provides a structured framework for building infrastructure.
  • Facilitating investment – Mobilizes public and private capital for priority sub-sectors.
  • Enabling coordination – Allows synchronized efforts between implementing agencies.
  • Linking plans – Aligns national, state and sectoral infrastructure plans for coherence.
  • Identifying gaps – Highlights sub-sectors needing impetus and funding.
  • Incorporating new sectors – Ensures list reflects latest economic landscape and future needs.
  • Monitoring progress – Allows tracking growth across sub-sectors through periodic updates.

How is the List Periodically Revised to Include New Sectors?

The HMLI is constantly evolving to keep pace with the economic landscape. The inclusion of new sectors is based on:

  • Emerging priorities – Sub-sectors vital for future economic growth.
  • Recommendations by Niti Aayog and infrastructure ministries – Inputs on sectors necessary for development.
  • Technological changes – Sectors benefiting from new innovations and technologies.
  • Changing demand – Sectors experiencing surging demand and utilization levels.
  • National infrastructure pipeline – Addition of new projects and areas.
  • PPP trends – Incorporating sectors attracting private investments.
  • Budgetary allocations – Inclusion of sub-sectors receiving increased capital outlays.
  • Economic surveys – Insights from annual surveys on focal areas.
  • Sectoral growth trends – Fast-expanding sectors based on performance.
  • International benchmarks – Sectors vital globally but inadequate in India.

What are Some Sectors that May be Added to the List in the Future?

Some emerging infrastructure sectors likely to be incorporated in the list going forward are:

  • Electric mobility infrastructure – EV charging stations, battery swapping centers.
  • Data centers –Hyperscale and edge data centers.
  • Renewable energy – Offshore wind/solar power systems, green hydrogen.
  • Space infrastructure – Launch vehicles, satellites, research facilities.
  • Defense infrastructure – Domestic manufacturing, testing facilities.
  • Electronic manufacturing – Semiconductor fabrication units, display fabrication units.
  • Gas infrastructure – City gas distribution, LNG fueling stations.
  • R&D infrastructure – National labs, technology institutes.
  • Digital infrastructure – Submarine cables, data localization centers.


The Harmonized Master List of Infrastructure offers a comprehensive blueprint for coordinated planning and development of world-class infrastructure across India. Dynamic updates to the list ensure it adapts to the evolving economic landscape and includes new ‘sunrise’ sectors vital for future growth.

Synchronized efforts guided by the list will be key to upgrading India’s infrastructure to global standards. This will enhance efficiency, competitiveness and quality of life – making India a developed nation.CopyRetry

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