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Nodal Agency for Logistics to strengthen Indian economy: Suresh Prabhu

Ficci Logistics summitThe recently held “Global Logistics Summit” hosted by FICCI in New Delhi with support from the Ministry of Commerce, WB Group, FFFAI, AMTOI and several other organizations, was an evidence that the sunrise sector i.e. logistics industry in India is gaining due importance of late. Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, who addressed the gathering as a chief guest, urged all the stakeholders to churn new ideas to enhance India’s logistics efficiency. “There are large number of players who play a key role in logistics and there is a need to optimise the present infrastructure available in India to achieve enhanced effectiveness in logistics. There is exponential investment happening in infrastructure and our idea is that we must at least put in 10 per cent of the GDP into infrastructure,” Mr. Prabhu stressed by pointing out that 56 new airports will come up in few years’ time which will enhance air connectivity in the country, and crucial for goods exports too.

He also highlighted that in view of tremendous importance, recently a new division has been created in the commerce ministry to deal with the problems and have an integrated development of logistics in the country.

The inaugural functions and technical sessions of the Summit were also addressed by Ms Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary, Govt. of India; Mr. Bibek Debroy, Member, NITI Aayog and Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister; Dr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, India Country Director, World Bank Group; Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI; Mr Ashish Pednekar, Chairman, FFFAI; Mr Shantanu Bhadkamkar, Chairman, IFCBA; Dr Jean-Francois Arvis, Lead Economist, World Bank Group, Mr Nailesh Gandhi, President, AMTOI; Mr PK Das, Member (Customs), CBEC; Mr Pritam Banerjeejee, Director-South Asia, Deutsche Post DHL Group; Ms Leena Nandan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and several other dignitaries. Mr CR Chaudhary, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry addressed the summit as chief guest at the Valedictory Session.

In her address Ms Teaotia, maintained that there is a need to bring down India’s logistics cost from 14 per cent to at least 10 per cent.  “This is being achieved by unprecedented investment by rail, road, shipping & waterway infrastructure. The aspirations for economic growth, employment generation, manufacturing and exports are all inextricably linked with the issue of logistics and it is an essential element that has the capacity to make that quantum in progresss,” she said. Ms Teaotia  underlined the recent steps taken by commerce ministry to enhance logistics efficiency of India such giving infrastructure status to key logistics activities, working on 80 per cent Direct Port Delivery (DPD) at key ports, increased role of Risk Management System (RMS) for border clearances and rolling out of the integrated logistics portal shortly.

Mr Debroy, on the other hand, emphasized on the implementation of full-fledged GST (Goods and Services Tax) that supplants and subsumes all indirect taxes and procedural improvements. “For a country as large as India, major growth impetus will come from freeing up and unclogging of trade in the country,” he added.

Dr. Ahmad, emphasized on the need for greater internal integration of systems in India and improvement in logistics efficiency for achieving 8.5 per cent GDP growth. “The whole area of connectivity & logistics is necessary for India to move to its next growth path. In next 5-7 years, the gains from internal integration of markets in India will produce greater welfare gains in India’s integration in global market,” he said.

DSC_8033Providing the industry perspective, Mr Pednekar urged for effective collaboration among the logistics industry stakeholders and government/government agencies to secure highest position in global trade & commerce as well as logistics markets. “It is highly commendable that during last couple of years the government has taken some land mark initiatives to facilitate India’s export/import trade. Initiatives like DPD, AEO (Authorised Economic Operators), Skill India, GST, etc would be very effective in strengthening foreign trade and economy at large,” Mr Pednekar maintained. He also highlighted the pivotal role of Indian Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders and Logistics practitioners in enhancing the foreign trade. Mr Pednekar shared that FFFAI has been working closely with the government and other industry bodies for facilitating foreign trade. “We are organizing FIATA World Congress for the first time in India, which will be held from September 26-30, 2018 in Aerocity, New Delhi. This first international logistics conference in India will be attended by 1500 delegates from across India and overseas countries including logistics professionals, different ministries, government organizations, experts, manufacturers, exporters/importers and corporate houses. With the Theme: “Future Starts Here” the conference will be huge opportunity to showcase brand India,” he shared.

Mr Bhadkamkar elaborated on India’s, especially the country’s logistics professional’s importance in global trade and commerce. “The world is eyeing on India and the country’s thought leadership. Accordingly, our think-tanks should focus on the ground reality and sensitize the industry. There should be lot of researches to specify logistics costs and requirements. In fact, we should be the trend setters in the world in terms of ‘Best Practices’ in logistics,” he asserted.

Earlier, Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI in his welcome address mentioned that FICCI recognises the entire issue of trade facilitation and logistics being key to making Indian economy globally competitive. “There are lot of last mile issues in terms of connectivity, customs facilitation and we recognise the importance of the subject and FICCI will facilitate and provide an opportunity to all stakeholders to interact with the government,” he assured.

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