India gearing up to become Viksit Bharat by 2047: Finance Minister

With the focus on making India ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the interim budget and said the government’s focus is now on Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas.” She said, “Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities will have more modern airports, in the coming years, there will be 11% increase in overall infrastructure expenditure. Exports will be doubled to ₹1-lakh crore rupees,” said FM. Touching upon measures that will be taken to expand India’s railway infrastructure, Sitharaman announced, three major railway economic corridors including energy, mineral and cement corridor, a port connectivity corridor and a high traffic density corridor. “Railway projects have been identified under the PM Gati Shakti Yojana for enabling multi-modal connectivity. These will improve logistics efficiency and reduce costs. Decongestion of high traffic corridors will result in improving operations, which in turn would result in safety and higher travel speeds for passengers. These corridors, along with dedicated freight corridors, will accelerate our GDP and reduce logistic costs. Finance Minister also said that the government is focused on more comprehensive ‘governance, development, performance’ – termed as ‘GDP’. Finance Minister announced, “We have taken a number of steps in Customs to facilitate international trade. As a result, the import release time declined by 47 per cent to 71 hours at Inland Container Depots, by 28 per cent to 44 hours at air cargo complexes and by 27 per cent to 85 hours at seaports, over the last four years since 2019, when the National Time Release Studies were first started,” she added. Also, By unifying the tax system, she said, “The GST has reduced the compliance burden on trade and industry. As per a recent survey, 94% of industry leaders view the transition to GST as largely positive. She adds that the biggest beneficiary is the consumer as reduction in logistics costs and taxes has helped bring down prices.” Focusing on GST, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The recently announced India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor is a strategic and economic game changer for India and others. In the words of Hon’ble Prime Minister, the corridor “will become the basis of world trade for hundreds of years to come, and history will remember that this corridor was initiated on Indian soil.”

Vipin Vohra, Chairman, Continental Carriers said, “Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that the government has implemented various measures to streamline international trade processes. Consequently, the time required for the release of import cargo has witnessed significant reductions. Specifically, there has been a 47% decrease to 71 hours at Inland Container Depots (ICDs), a 28% reduction to 44 hours at Air Cargo Terminals, and a 27% decline to 85 hours at seaports over the past four years, starting from 2019 when the National Time Release Studies were initially conducted. In light of these achievements, the Continental Carriers Pvt Ltd (CCPL) expresses the view that further improvements can be made in reducing release times. CCPL suggests that encouraging the establishment and utilization of off-airport bonded warehouses, particularly in the form of Air Freight Stations, would alleviate congestion at Air Cargo Terminals. Furthermore, CCPL emphasizes the potential benefits of rationalizing Cargo Handling tariffs by Cargo Terminal Operators. This, in turn, is expected to contribute to an overall reduction in logistics costs. Additionally, CCPL recommends the simplification of regulatory norms and the adoption of a ‘single window’ procedure for obtaining approvals. These measures are believed to enhance the development of world-class infrastructure for handling international cargo at Inland Container Depots, Air Cargo Terminals, and other relevant facilities.”

Amit Maheshwari, CEO, Softlink Global shares his views on the interim budget 2024-2025, “The focus on enhancing logistics and intermodal transportation through the PM Gati Shakti plan, particularly the development of three major economic railway corridors, is a transformative move. This will significantly boost logistics efficiency and reduce operational costs, aligning perfectly with Softlink Global’s commitment to innovative and efficient logistics solutions. Additionally, the establishment of a one lakh crore rupee corpus for interest-free loans to support innovation is a commendable step. It will empower the private sector in advancing research and development, particularly in emerging technologies and defense sectors, resonating with our focus on integrating cutting-edge technology in logistics. Furthermore, the government’s initiative for green growth through bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry is another area we welcome. This move towards sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturing practices reflects a global shift towards environmental responsibility, an aspect critically important in the logistics and supply chain sector. These initiatives collectively represent a significant advancement in technology, logistics, and sustainable practices, and offer immense potential for companies like Softlink Global to innovate and contribute towards a more efficient and sustainable future in India’s logistics landscape.”

Anish Mathew, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Allcargo Gati Limited, said, “In the budget, the government has laid the roadmap for inclusive and sustainable economic growth with a focus on GDP—governance, development, and performance. The thrust on advancing EV infrastructure and driving the energy transition aligns seamlessly with the logistic industry’s goal to minimise operational impact on the environment. The prioritisation of skilling the youth to build efficiency and global competitiveness in MSMEs will foster broader economic growth. As we look ahead, the next five years hold immense potential for the growth and progress of the country, and the budget aptly outlines the framework. This period presents an exciting opportunity to explore the convergence of sustainable investment and financial prosperity.”

Ashwin Sheth, CMD, Ashwin Sheth Group, said, “We acknowledge the strategic direction outlined in the 2024 interim budget, particularly its focus on reinforcing the affordable housing sector through the increased allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). This puts a spotlight on the government’s unwavering commitment to encouraging inclusive real estate development, acknowledging the key role of affordability in comprehensively addressing housing needs.  The allocation of 70% of PMAY houses to women in rural areas is of special significance and will go a long way towards providing secure living spaces and advancing women’s empowerment. The progress in the implementation of PM Awas Yojana (Grameen), approaching the target of three crore houses, with a commitment to taking up construction of two crore additional houses over the next five years, reflects the government’s dedication to meet the growing demand for housing in rural areas. Maintaining a delicate balance between promoting affordable housing and ensuring sustained growth across all segments is crucial, and will no doubt foster an environment conducive to growth, investment, and the holistic development of the real estate ecosystem. Moreover, the increased outlay for infrastructure to Rs 11.11 lakh crores in FY25, is a welcome move, giving further support for overall growth and development in the sector. Building on these developments, we look forward to continuing to help develop a robust and inclusive real estate landscape in India.”

Sandeep Bansal, Chief Business Officer at Falcon Autotech said, “Following the Interim Union Budget presented by the honorable FM, we welcome the commitment to de-congest high-traffic corridors not only aligns seamlessly with our goals of efficiency and cost reduction but also set the stage for fostering a skilled workforce integral to India’s advancement. Recognizing the transformative impact of the government’s visionary approach with PM Gati Shakti, and the heightened focus on multi-modal connectivity, we foresee abundant employment opportunities for the youth with technical skills in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance. The proposed rail corridors in the eastern region, coupled with the strategic India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor and the expansion of EV infrastructure, further solidify a holistic strategy for economic growth and environmental responsibility. We embrace these forward-looking measures, acknowledging their potential to reshape the industry and contribute significantly to our nation’s progress.”  Mahesh Fogla, Executive Director, Patel Integrated Logistics Limited

“The Interim Budget allocates robust funding for Infrastructure Development, emphasizing upgraded roads, doubled airports (149 total), and advanced railroads. A strategic focus on new airport expansion aligns with Indian carriers anticipating 1,000 new aircraft. This plan includes the introduction of 517 new routes under the UDAN scheme, fostering connectivity for tier II & tier III cities. The budget adheres to fiscal prudence, keeping the fiscal deficit in check to reduce borrowing costs. Furthermore, the combination of infrastructure development, potential business support measures, and a focus on supply chain efficiency reaffirms a steadfast commitment to nationwide progress and economic vitality.”

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO, India, Southeast Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE
“This budget is focused on infrastructure development and scores well on initiatives for women, youth, farmers, and weaker sections of the society.
The proposal to add 2 crore additional houses under the PM Awas Yojana (Gramin) over the next 5 years is likely to enable growth in the rural areas. Further, the announcement on housing for middle class for deserving sections would propel the development of real estate and construction activities along with allied sectors. C K Govil, CMD, Activair Airfreight says, “Growth and job-oriented budget to propel India achieve the developed India status by 2047 the Amritkaal period. The interim budget has the confidence of continuity which will empower all four pillars of Viksit Bharat – Yuva, Garib, Mahila and Kisan. The budget besides building the modern infrastructure of 21st century, it proposes to provide innumerable job opportunities for the youth of India.”

Homi Katgara, Partner, Jeena & Company, said, “The budget announcement is welcomed by the logistics industry. As industry players, we are brimming with optimism. The government’s focus on youth, infrastructure, innovation, and strategic partnerships resonates strongly with our aspirations. The ₹1 Lac crore innovation corpus specifically targeted at young minds in technology is an important move. This fosters a culture of problem-solving and tech adoption, crucial for streamlining logistics operations and optimizing routes. The infrastructure push, particularly the doubling of airports (149 in 10 years) and the development of dedicated railway corridors, is a game-changer. These initiatives will significantly improve connectivity, decongest existing routes, and expedite freight movement. The CRISIL prediction of a 12% reduction in logistics costs is music to our ears – it translates to enhanced competitiveness for Indian manufacturers and a boost to the overall economy. Furthermore, the government’s commitment to “First Develop India” through bilateral trade treaties opens doors to new opportunities and strengthens our global footprint. This strategic approach aligns perfectly with our aspirations for growth and expansion. Overall, this budget is a step in the right direction.”

Ishaan Gupta, JMD, Gateway Distriparks said, “We welcome the transformative measures outlined in the Interim Budget 2024, particularly the emphasis on enhancing India’s railway infrastructure. The establishment of key economic corridors, such as the Energy, Mineral, and Cement Corridor, the Port Connectivity Corridor, and the High Traffic Density Corridor, looks promising for the overall growth of logistics sector. The integration of these corridors under the PM Gati Shakti Yojana is a significant step toward enabling multimodal connectivity, thereby enhancing operational capabilities. We believe that these corridors, coupled with the dedicated freight corridors, will not only optimize logistics efficiency but also contribute substantially to reducing overall logistic costs. We look forward to leveraging these advancements to enhance our services and contribute to the overall growth of the logistics industry.”

Satish Lakkaraju, Global Head- Air Freight WIZ says, “Some of the important aspects that are relevant in the Budget 2024 and that will be of interest to the Aviation industry is the Expansion of existing airports and comprehensive development of new airports under UDAN scheme.  The growth of India is highly dependent on connectivity and so more airports will be of great importance .  Even the implementation of 3 Major railways corridor programmes under PM Gati shakti to improve logistics efficiency and reduce cost is very relevant and critical at this point of time for the country.”

Rampraveen Swaminathan, Managing Director and CEO of Mahindra Logistics Ltd said, “The Union Budget 2024’s pivotal focus on infrastructure development, aligns seamlessly with our vision for enhanced logistics efficiency. The government’s commendable commitment to supporting EV manufacturing and charging infrastructure is a significant stride towards sustainable mobility. We appreciate and commend the government’s efforts towards Green Energy, aligned with the Nation’s commitment for ‘net-zero’ by 2070. The announcement of three major economic railway corridor programs, spanning energy, mineral, and cement corridors, port connectivity corridors, and high-traffic density corridors under the PM Gati Shakti initiative, is poised to be transformative. These corridors not only promise to decongest high-traffic areas but also elevate the safety and speed of passenger trains. The integration of dedicated freight corridors is poised to catalyse GDP growth and significantly reduce logistics costs. With an increased outlay in FY25 and the expedited development of various infrastructure projects, the government’s proactive approach is set to spur economic growth. The India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor announcement is particularly game-changing, strategically positioning India on the global trade map. We at Mahindra Logistics, eagerly anticipates actively participating in and benefiting from these initiatives, ushering in positive transformations in the logistics and transportation sector.”

Yashpal Sharma, President, ACFI shared, “The interim budget for 2024 continues the Government’s past reforms agenda. This budget is focused on Policy Continuity and Fiscal Consolidation. It is heartening to see the Capex for infrastructure increase by 11.1%. This means more investment in roads, airports, ports and other related infra which will give boost to Air Cargo and Logistics. 3 new rail corridors will surely pave way for faster surface movement and reduction of load on roads. The Finance Minister and the Prime Minister are in sync in saying that we are moving into the Golden Era of our Economic journey. India is likely to be 3rd largest economy by 2027 and USD 7 Trillion by 2030 or earlier. Air Cargo and entire logistics industry is hopeful that more positive things will happen in the coming months, post our general elections that will be announced, soon.”

Vineet Malhotra, Co-Founder & Director of Kale Logistics Solutions, said, “The Finance Minister’s address heralds a pivotal moment for Logistics. The emphasis on Port Connectivity Corridors coupled with railway integration promises a swift reduction in Logistics costs and a significant decrease in carbon emissions. Furthermore, the spotlight on technology and allocating funds for deep-tech innovation and R&D instils confidence in industry players like Kale. India’s Logistics sector, driven by cutting-edge technology, is already tackling global supply chain challenges, and this announcement will fuel further innovation. With the implementation of these initiatives, we anticipate the emergence of numerous unicorns within India’s Logistics landscape. Additionally, the renewed commitment to the UDAN mission, aimed at rapidly developing airports in tier-2 and 3 cities, underscores the strategic focus on harnessing the burgeoning air cargo sector. In sum, the budget holds immense promise, and with adherence to timelines, we envision the nation steered toward a prosperous trajectory.”