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Are you a farm-to-plate logistics startup? The government may soon have a fund for you

Rashi Varshney
8th Feb 2019
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The Department of Commerce has drafted the National Logistics Policy 2018, and is now inviting comments and suggestions from stakeholders.

The Department of Commerce’s logistics division recently brought out a draft policy, and has sought suggestions and opinions from all stakeholders. In the draft National Logistics Policy, the department suggested setting up a startup acceleration fund.

The acceleration fund will incubate startups in the logistics sector and help them adopt newer technologies faster, and promote innovative practices that can help in reducing costs and turnaround times. The fund will be managed by the Logistics Wing.

The draft policy also proposes to give awards and rewards to startups in the sector. The logistics fund, which will not have a lapse period, will focus on startups involved in first and last mile projects, and projects for poorly-serviced remote areas as ecommerce in India is growing exponentially and will continue to grow. The government will also emphasise on incentivising new technology in the farm-to-plate space.

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Outlining the importance of logistics startups, the government said there were a number of them bringing in new technologies in areas such as market aggregation, freight forwarding, cold chain, and telematics, among others, and offer superior service quality at reduced costs.

These startups also reduced the dwell times due to increased efficiency made possible by technologies such as the Internet of Things, telematics and big data analytics. Also, several startups offer economic and portable cold chain solutions to small and medium farmers right at the farm gate.

The policy, once implemented, will provide an impetus to the MSME sector in the country through a cost-effective logistics network and will promote cross-regional trade on ecommerce platforms by enabling a seamless flow of goods.

The policy document is available on the official website of Department of Commerce (www.commerce.gov.in) and MyGov portal (www.mygov.in). Stakeholders and the general public can send comments and suggestions on this draft to draftlogpolicy@gmail.com or in the comment box under the ‘Discussion’ section of MyGov portal by 19 February 2019, preferably in word format.

The government will also create a Center for Trade Facilitation and Logistics Excellence (CTFL), a big data enabled data hub and analytics centre, and single window logistics e-marketplace.

Other aspects of the 23-page draft policy include the creation of a National Logistics e-marketplace as a one-stop marketplace for the simplification of documentation for exports/imports and to drive transparency through the digitisation of processes involving Customs, Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) etc in regulatory, certification and compliance services.

The e-marketplace will onboard various service providers like transporters, warehousing providers, shipping lines, third-party service providers, freight forwarders, Customs brokers etc. and various government agencies including Customs and PGAs involved in regulatory, certification and compliance services. This will remove the need for documents to be submitted at multiple places and will enable the entire regulation system to be transparent and faster.

The government also plans to create a data and analytics centre to enable data-driven decision-making for future infrastructure projects. The data will facilitate review of logistics performance metrics on a quarterly basis by an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Minister for Commerce and Industry, and on a half-yearly basis by the National Council for Logistics, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister.


Also read: Delhi-based Shyplite wants ecommerce businesses to say bye-bye to logistic woes

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