September , 2022
Drones, 5G & an integrated logistics policy is expected to make India globally competitive
22:32 pm

Buroshiva Dasgupta

Two projects of the Modi government have received universal praise, even among his harshest critics. One is of course Swach Bharat. Mahatma Gandhi might have preached ‘cleanliness is next to godliness;’ but it was never implemented. The Modi government has at least made an honest attempt to create awareness about the need to keep our surroundings clean. The other is the emphasis on creation of a unified logistics interface platform (ULIP).

Of course, it was Atal Behari Vajpayee who took the first step towards infrastructure building when he pushed the ’golden quadrangle’ plan. The substantial increase in budget allocation on this project raised quite a few eyebrows then; but quite frankly we are reaping its benefits now. Maybe the benefits of these massive highways are more tilted towards the western regions of the country; but the other regions are also benefiting through a trickle down effect. The dynamic leadership of Nitin Gadkari in this sector provides a semblance of fairness for everybody.

The Prime Minister formally launched this ULIP project early this week with the big promise that India will now become more competitive and turn into a ‘developed’ country. Without a doubt, infrastructure is the first criteria, if honestly taken care of, will push India into the big league. Narendra Modi made it clear that the ULIP plan did not appear overnight: it needed eight years of detailed homework. “National Logistics Policy has not come out of the blue and there are 8 years of hard work behind it. There are policy changes, major decisions, and, if I talk about myself, it has my 22 years of governance experience behind it,” he said.

He pointed out that the total capacity of Indian ports has increased significantly and the average turn-around time of container vessels has come down from 44 hours to 26 hours. To promote export, 40 air cargo terminals have been constructed. 30 airports have been provided cold-storage facilities. 35 multimodal hubs are coming up in the country. “Through waterways, we can do eco-friendly and cost-effective transportation, for this many new waterways are also being built in the country.”

The Prime Minister has a special fascination for using technology for development. He pointed out the government has worked towards initiatives like paperless EXIM trade process through e-sanchit, faceless assessment for customs, provisions for e-way bills, FASTag etc. which have greatly increased the efficiency of the logistics sector. He also underlined the importance of a unified tax system like GST in smoothening the issues of the logistics sector. He took special initiative to change the IT laws to introduce a new drone policy and implement drones in logistics. The entry of 5G in telecommunications is also round the corner. This effort of the prime minister to introduce speed in Indian lifestyle is laudable.

To become globally competitive, the logistics cost, which is now 13 to 14 % in India, must be reduced to a single digit. For the products manufactured in India to become competitive in the world market, it is crucial to have a strong support system. “The National Logistics Policy will greatly help us modernize this support system,” the PM said. National Logistics Policy is a comprehensive effort to address issues of high cost and inefficiency by laying down an overarching interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral, and multi-jurisdictional framework for the development of the entire logistics ecosystem. The PM GatiShakti, a national master plan for multi-modal connectivity, launched by the Prime Minister last year, is expected to get further boost and complementarity with the launch of the National Logistics Policy. 



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