Article: “the transport and digital connectivity”
The transport networks are called as the arteries and veins of the economy.They ensure seamless movement of goods from one part of the country to other, building a robust supply chain.These supply chains facilitate the manufacturing units to be set up at any part of the world as they can be easily connected.With the globalisation making the world into a “global village”,the supply chains have moved beyond the borders of the nations.The internet and the digital space has created a new mode of connectivity,beyond the traditional roadways,railways,airways and seaways.The digital medium has not only shrunk the gap on the demand side but also on the supply side as the entire world has become one single market.
Rise of e-commerce:
A decade ago,e-commerce was a service used by only few elites in the metro cities.Today it has percolated even to the remotest part of the country,thanks to the internet connectivity and road network to the last mile of the country.The e-commerce market in india is expected to reach $350 billion by 2030 from the current $70 billion.The double digit growth of the sector in the recent years have been fuelled by the huge foreign direct investment inflow,covid 19 lockdown and the business friendly policies.The companies like flipkart,myntra,india mart,etc., have grown as top companies and are competing for their market share.The e-commerce model being both consumer and producer friendly,have been adopted by the government agencies too.The e-nam (national agriculture market) for buying and selling agricultural goods,gem (government e-marketplace) for procuring items for government offices,etc., are some of the well known examples.This model would have an even better opportunity to grow several fold when the infrastructural needs of the sector are taken care of.
A better infrastructure in terms of multimodal connectivity,warehousing facility,cold storage spaces,dedicated freight corridors,logistics parks,multi lane road networks,internet towers in remotest areas,etc., could fuel the sector.These upgrades would bring down the logistics costs from current 14% of gdp to 10-11% in the near future.In addition to the new projects,the pending projects should also be cleared quickly to unleash the real potential of the sector.The infrastructures should cater not only the domestic movement of goods,but also the international goods movement.For this purpose,the modernisation of ports,addressing the container shortages,faster clearances,creation of several minor ports on both coastlines,creation of several hub airports,etc., becomes necessary.It is with these necessary infrastructure and business friendly policies,that free trade agreements would work in india’s favour.With 6 fta’s (uk,eu,uae,australia,israel,canada) on the cards for india,a focus in the transport and logistics sector as a whole can turn trade balances in favour of us.
With most of the needs of the sector put forth,it is also necessary to keep a track on the current progress being made on this front.The dedicated freight corridor is being built at a faster pace on both the eastern and western front.The ‘ease of doing business’ policy has rationalised the required approvals,introduced faceless and paperless clearances,e-invoicing and fastag tolls,all of which have ensured seamless movement of goods.The sagarmala and bharatmala projects are at various stages of completion,the inland waterways projects have also begun in several states.The multimodal logistics park have been announced in the recent budget and the most important of all- the pm gati shakti project is set to overturn the dynamics of the economy.The transport sector has been given a top priority with 19% of the total outlay under the national infrastructural pipeline.The unified logistics interface platform facilitates technology adoption across multimodal logistics operations and greatly streamlines the data flow.Overall the target towards which we are heading is right but the pace of activities should be fastened up for greater benefits.
Therefore the recognition of the importance of transport sector is a major policy impetus for greater trade.With the roll out of the 5g technology,both the manufacturing and trade is set to become more digitalised.As the digital penetration widens,the transport networks should also widen to work in coordination with each other.Last but not the least,the development on both transport and digital front should be in a sustainable manner.The fuel for both sectors should be from renewable sources for a better future. Thus the competitve trade practices,supported by well connected transport and digital network,accompanied with environmental friendly practices is the way forward for the entire world.