“This year’s budget has come with a number of positive updates for the logistics and transport sector. A fund allocation of INR 1.7 lakh crores for transport and infrastructure including railway infrastructure enhancement, and investments in warehousing and logistics, is a constructive step that will help boost growth across industry-verticals including manufacturing and help improve last-mile delivery especially in rural geographies. We are hopeful that the port infrastructure will also get the much needed improvement to bring them to a level where they are competitive in the global scenario. The government aims to complete the National Waterway-1 in this year to effectively leverage inland waterways for freight transportation which is a welcome news for domestic hinterland trade especially for refrigerated agro-commodities. Moreover, digitising the export-import supply-chain and providing digital refund of state and central taxes to the exporters will help the country boost its global ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking. We are confident that the continued digitalisation efforts will serve as a lever to propel the economy forward, and they should thus be prioritised. At the same time, while there have been several investments announced on improving infrastructure, we have yet to see any concrete measures to reduce the cost of logistics arising from high rail and port costs.
Government’s focus on facilitating Public-Private Participation (PPP) model in the Indian shipping industry undertaking a structured approach through consultants can help ensure adequate returns to the proposed infrastructure investments. The ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ plan and the upcoming National Logistics Policy are expected to ease transport of goods and lower logistics costs across the country through various measures which include a single window logistics market.
A scalable start-up ecosystem is critical to drive industry transformation and generate problem-solving technology solutions. Proposed measures to ensure ease of doing business for Indian start-ups, including a seed fund to support early-stage and advisory cell, is precisely in-line with industry requirement.
Simplification of GST returns in 2020-21 and reduced tax structure for existing and new companies will help make sure India stays as a preferred destination for investments. Additionally, a keen focus on providing a subsidiary debt scheme for entrepreneurs will create a solid opportunity for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and empower the domestic trade ecosystem to become more inclusive, thereby amplifying livelihood across the hinterlands.” said Steve Felder, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia