Biting Budget Bullet
The Railway Budget has put forward a blue print for focus on investment and sustainability. It has also brought the spotlight on the need to open doors to the private sector for further investment. The Railway Budget laid stress on setting up Transport Logistics Corporation of India to facilitate cargo services. The appointment of a tariff regulator by 2016 to monitor price mechanism is also on the anvil. Upgradation of goods sheds and construction of logistics parks on surplus land apart from extensive use of technology along with the decision regarding increasing the speed in the nine railway corridors will bring about a reduction in logistics time. However, the Budget failed to address the issue of increasing freight charges that will hamper the share of traffic carried by the Railways and consequently affect the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the long run. The Union Budget proposed setting up a National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to ensure annual flow of adequate capital to promote investment in the logistics infrastructure. Alongside, the decision to implement GST by April 2016 to bring about a uniform taxation system will provide the much-needed impetus to the country’s economy. Proposals to bring about regulations for reform in infrastructure and provision of single window clearances will invite overseas investment in the cargo sector. The decision to corporatise major ports will increase efficiency in the system and speed up the progress rate that has, till date, been suffering from bottlenecks owing to rigid conformity to formal rules and the redundant way of functioning of the bureaucracy.