Need a nodal body for lo­gis­tics

Cargo Talk - - Editorial - San Jeet

As the new Union Govern­ment will take charge post gen­eral elec­tions of 2014, it is the ap­pro­pri­ate time to de­mand for a nodal min­istry or a nodal body for cargo and lo­gis­tics in­dus­try in In­dia, which is so far no­body’s child. Para­dox­i­cally, for this sun­rise sec­tor no clear di­rec­tion has been laid down by the pol­icy mak­ers com­pris­ing of mul­ti­ple min­istries, agencies and au­thor­i­ties. Hence, is­sues are mount­ing to cre­ate huge ob­sta­cles for the cargo and lo­gis­tics in­dus­try, leav­ing the coun­try out of the race, as com­pared to other de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries as re­gard to the tran­sit time and trans­ac­tion cost. It may be re­called that In­dia has ex­or­bi­tant lo­gis­tics cost of about 13-14 per cent of the na­tional GDP. In the past few years, Car­gotalk has raised the is­sue of hav­ing a nodal min­istry/ body for the cargo and lo­gis­tics in­dus­try. Sev­eral trade bod­ies and in­dus­try ma­jors have ex­pressed strong feel­ings favour­ing the is­sue. How­ever, there was a se­ri­ous la­cuna be­tween the in­tent and ac­tion. There were no per­sis­tent ini­tia­tives, es­pe­cially from the trade as­so­ci­a­tions and the in­dus­try cham­bers of com­merce to make a dent on the thought process of the pro­tag­o­nists at the cor­ri­dors of power. The de­bate about the na­ture of the nodal body can con­tinue, at the same time, by go­ing for some long-term ac­tion plans. To de­ceive the grav­ity of the is­sue, the con­cerned au­thor­i­ties may re­fer to the bod­ies like Air Cargo Lo­gis­tics Pro­mo­tion Board to achieve the de­sired goal of the in­dus­try — i.e a strong cargo and lo­gis­tics in­fra­struc­ture armed with in­dus­try sta­tus. How­ever, un­til and un­less these plat­forms are not headed by a vi­able in­sti­tu­tion such as the PMO or Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary, the log­jam would re­main the same, ow­ing to sec­toral in­ter­ests of var­i­ous min­istries and de­part­ments. Re­mark­ably, there are some in­di­ca­tions that a few as­so­ci­a­tions are com­ing closer to bring up the fight for in­dus­try sta­tus and a nodal author­ity. The sooner all ma­jor as­so­ci­a­tions and cham­bers and com­merce stand un­der one um­brella for the greater in­ter­est of the cargo and lo­gis­tics in­dus­try (and hence, for the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try’s econ­omy), the bet­ter the re­sults will be for the in­dus­try. It’s a huge op­por­tu­nity to ask the new govern­ment and the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment as well, which di­rec­tion they want to lead the coun­try to­wards - a man­u­fac­tur­ing-ori­ented growth sup­ported by a world-stan­dard lo­gis­tics in­dus­try or through a mere ser­vice sec­tor?

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