Mission 2014: Get GST implemented
Amidst tough times in 2013, the cargo and logistics industry is hoping for better times with early signs of recovery in both domestic and international markets. A number of leading companies have already announced their investment plans for this year with cautious optimism. In addition to changes in the market development in the days to come, the Indian industry also expects support from policy-makers. Immediate implementation of the much-awaited GST, for instance, may be the most sought-after gift for them, until a pragmatic logistics policy is in place.
Industry practitioners also urge the government to set up standards and accreditation procedures for all firms operating in the industry. In addition, the government should focus on the creation of special tax provisions to encourage private sector investments in infrastructure. Moreover, documentation should be computerised, so that less number of forms are needed at checkposts. A centralised toll policy and mechanism is needed to ensure uniformity in the toll charges paid by truckers or drivers at various checkposts.
However, the logistics industry itself has to be strengthened and organised too. Stakeholders would have to keep on investing in new designs of terminals, containers and handling technology with the help of policy-makers who need to extend benefits of schemes to the industry so that massive investment envisaged are utilised in the most economic and productive manner. At the same time, steps need to be taken to encourage long-distance hinterland movement of containers by rail to guard against the present trend of majority of containers getting `stuffed’ in port town CFSs, resulting in congestion.
It is desirable that the year 2014 and ensuring years bring the much-needed pace to infrastructure. The industry expects that this should be one of the key priorities for our policy-makers as challenges at the gateway points have an adverse impact on the overall logistical performance. The logistics industry also wants to see stability in the foreign currency which can have an positive impact on the import traffic to India. There should be a long-term policy visibility in Foreign Direct Investment ( FDI) to regain the investors’ confidence. Implementation of sustainable and longterm investments will bring stability in foreign investments.