Measures To Ease Traffic: How Centre, State Govt Can Ease Freight Movement

Measures To Ease Traffic: How Centre, State Govt Can Ease Freight Movement

Earlier during this fiscal year, the government accorded infrastructure status to the logistics sector. The objective of this move is to provide easy financing to the sector to promote its development, and in the long run help Indian exports become more competitive globally, benefiting from lower logistics costs. The implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), too, was expected to reduce the logistics costs by reducing the number of check posts at interstate borders. According to some estimates, logistics contributes nearly 15% to India’s gross domestic product (GDP). In January 2018, the Financial Times carried an article mentioning how GST has enabled Indian trucks to cover more distance each day, and how it has fuelled warehousing business in cities, where it wasn’t preferable prior to the implementation of GST.

According to 2014 World Bank estimates, Indian truckers spend only about 40% of their time driving their vehicle. The rest is wasted in stationary activities such as traffic jams, check posts, refuelling, repairs, rest, etc. This would have certainly improved with the development of highways in recent years and the implementation of GST. The same is evident from the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, where India improved its rank to 35 in 2016 from 54 in 2014. While all these recent developments in the transport and logistics sector deserve an applause, there is still a long way to go in improving the status of our road transportation system. According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) website, about 65% of freight and 80% passenger traffic is carried by the roads. India has the second-largest road network in the world, spanning around 55 lakh kilometres. While India’s road length is impressive, highways constitute only about 2% of that. In fact, the country’s share of national highways is nearly half that of global average. It’s the same story for the average speed of traffic on Indian roads. Here are some practical suggestions that can be instrumental in aiding the traffic on Indian highways. Read More…

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