Hope for resurgence
The logistics sector in FY-2014-15
In a few days, the logistics sector of India will know for sure if their hopes and needs will be addressed by the new government. Or, if they will be swept under the carpet like always. It is the oldest chestnut in the sector that logistics and cargo is one of the most (if not the numero uno) heavily-taxed, unorganised and overlooked industries in the country. The experts can talk of double-taxation, paltry or nonexistent concessions from the government authorities, archaic bylaws providing a mandate for current scenarios, and the lack of ministry for the sector till they go hoarse, and more.
But now there is a new slogan in the country, and the sector wants to believe in it, too. The present government has emerged with strong majority, and a decisive Centre has the power to change the current stalemate. The effect is enough to make international
neighbours sit up and make a beeline to refresh relations with India. The Budget 2014-15 will be one of the most anticipated events of the year, and dare say, of the last few Budgets that the sector had to see.
Whether it is the question of enabling Goods and Service Tax, of reducing multiple taxation across the states for surface logistics companies, encouraging efficient distribution channels, of increasing capacity and efficiency of our ports, creating more cold-storage hubs at airports, lessening airport charges for freight
operators, and creating road/rail super-highways (aka the much-touted Sagar Mala project), everything is on the block now.
Industry experts speak hopes, both high and yet cautious, of what they expect from the government. Many speak of replicating the Gujarat model of creating a ‘logistical heaven’. But others caution that what works for one state, may not work for the entire nation.
The cargo and logistics operators in India, both domestic and international, have been rebuffed too many times in too many Budgets of successive governments.
But despite everything above, hope springs eternal.
CARGOTALK sought opinions of industry stalwarts on what expectations they had from the upcoming Budget, and the attitude was akin to optimism. It has been long since there was strong government, and longer still for the country to look forward to resurgence. And the cargo industry is hoping again, that the winds of change will favour them this time.