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Budget 2019: Nirmala Sitharaman’s sops for logistics industry to help India become $5 trillion economy

Budget 2019-20: The government’s focus on building a digital India is again highlighted with its willingness to train people on AI, IoT and Big Data that will transform the supply chain and logistics industry

Budget 2019 India: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden budget speech significantly talked about push to physical connectivity through various existing projects and schemes including Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, industrial and freight corridors, Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects, Jal Marg Vikas and UDAN Schemes that would be critical in achieving the government’s vision of $5 trillion economy in “the next few years.”

The logistics sector plays a very crucial role in propelling India to become a $5 trillion economy. Some key measures like Ease of Doing Business, simplification of e-way bills, UDAN, Bharatmala, Jal Marg Vikas, etc., will improve the overall logistics sector and also reduce the cost of transportation,” said Abhishek Chakraborty, Executive Director, DTDC Express.

Also, the government’s focus on rivers for cargo transportation will help boost the freight movement whilst making it cost-effective, he added.

While stressing on the subject of skill development through Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government would also focus on “new-age skills like artificial intelligence, internet of things, big data, 3D printing, virtual reality and robotics” that offer much higher remuneration. These skills are important for the logistics industry to transform the end-to-end movement and tracking of goods.

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Moreover, the government has intended to pour “Rs 100 lakh crore in infrastructure over the next five years and has proposed to set up an expert committee to study the current situation relating to long term finance and its past experience with development finance institutions,” the minister said.

“The government’s focus on building a digital India is again highlighted with its willingness to train people on AI, IoT and Big Data that will transform the supply chain and logistics industry. The initiative to invest Rs 100 lakh crore in infrastructure will positively impact the logistics and transportation industry both from a business and connectivity perspective,” said Kushal Nahata, CEO and Co-founder of logistics-tech startup FarEye.

Finance minister also stressed on multiple areas with respect to strengthening physical connectivity including proposing a public-private partnership for faster completion of railway tracks etc., leveraging inland waterways for smoothening internal trade, restructuring of National Highway Programme, etc.

“This year’s budget has come with a number of positive news for the logistics sector including railways infrastructure enhancement with an earmarked capital of Rs 50 lakh crore, leveraging inland waterways for freight transportation, restructuring of National Highways Programme with creation of National Highways Grid, improvement of last-mile delivery especially in rural geographies, and a mammoth Rs. 100 crore investment in infrastructure over the coming five years,” said Chander Agarwal, managing director, TCI Express.

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