The Union Budget 2017 with an agenda to transform, energise and sanitise India is reasonably balanced for an inclusive growth of the Indian economy. A couple of initiatives announced in the budget presented on February 1 bring some cheer to the sector. The government has taken the onus of setting up 100 India-International skill centres which will definitely create a larger impact to address the issue of skilled labour in India. Another good move of the government in the budget to offer tax relief to corporates is the carrying forward MAT for additional 5 years. The bold target of 2,500 crore digital transactions for 2017-18 will transform the way India transacts.
The implementation of end-to-end solutions by Railways for some commodities and significant investment in development of national highways, are steps towards ensuring multi-modal connectivity and better transport system. The budget put forth some initiatives like the Metro Rail Policy, development of Railways through investment of Rs 1.31 lakh crore in 2017-18, development of coastal roads etc, that aim to create job opportunities and boost infrastructure, however, there is no much clarity. These initiatives are a ready welcome, given the logistics and transport sector’s dependence on road transport is high. The success of these projects lie in their efficient management and implementation.
While there are some positives for the sector in the budget, there are no remarkable announcements that the logistics sector can bank on. We were hopeful of some incentives and investments especially in coastal shipping, given that India has a coastline of more than 7,500 km and has been one of the priorities of the government in the last few years. Initiatives to boost port modernisation, development of industries and industrial corridors, seem to have been given a miss.
-Adarsh Hegde, Joint Managing Director, Allcargo Logistics