Ease of doing business Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Ministry of Shipping is planning to expand Logistics Data Bank (LDB) project to the country’s southern region. So far, it had covered only the western logistics corridor.
The LDB project was launched at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT), Mumbai in July 2016, making it first port in India to provide this service. Later its operations were expanded to the container terminals at Adani Port Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), Mundra and Adani Hazira Port — both in Gujarat.
About Logistics Data Bank (LDB) project
The LDB project was unveiled in July 2016 to make India’s logistics sector more efficient through the use of Information Technology. Under this project, every container in the port facility is attached to a Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID) tag and then tracked through RFID readers.
It is being implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Logistics Data Services Ltd. (DLDSL). DLDSL is jointly (50:50) owned by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Trust and Japanese IT services major NEC Corporation.
The LDB project covers the entire movement of containers through rail or road till the Inland Container Depot and Container Freight Station. Its service integrates information available with the agencies across the supply chain to provide detailed, real-time information within a single window.
Significance of project
It has helped to cut the overall lead time of container movement as well as reduced transaction costs that consignees and shippers incur. It also has aided importers and exporters in tracking their goods in transit. It is billed as a major ‘ease of doing business’ initiative aimed at boosting India’s foreign trade and ensuring greater transparency.
The Union Government released the 76 point National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP). It was released by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.
The NTFAP has been adopted by the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF), reflecting Government’s commitment to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
Aims of the action plan: Transform cross border clearance ecosystem through efficient, transparent, risk based, co-ordinated, digital, seamless and technology driven procedures supported by state-of-the-art sea ports, airports and land borders.
Objectives of the action plan: Achieve improvement in ease of doing business by reduction in cargo release time and cost, transparent and predictable legal regime, move towards paperless regulatory environment and improved investment climate through better infrastructure.
Activities listed in the Action Plan: It lists out specific activities which would be carried out by all regulatory agencies like Customs, Drug Controller, Plant Quarantine, FSSAI, DGFT etc. in time bound manner. The co-ordination among all the stakeholders is the key to achieve the objective of Trade facilitation.
It not only covers the activities coming under the TFA but also goes beyond the ambit of TFA, defined as TFA Plus category. It covers many activities in the areas of infrastructure augmentation, particularly the road and rail infrastructures leading to ports, airports, Land Customs stations, ICDs that cuts across all stakeholders for which various ministries like Civil Aviation, Shipping, Railways, Home Affairs, Road transport and Highways, Finance, Commerce etc have been assigned specified targets. All actions falling under the plan have been categorised by prioritising the activities into short term, mid-term and long-term activities.
Monitoring of the plan: The plan will be monitored by the Steering Committee (the operational arm of the NCTF) chaired by the Revenue Secretary and the Commerce Secretary. Further it will be reviewed by the Cabinet Secretary.
Earlier in August 2016, the Union Government had constituted NCTF headed by the Cabinet Secretary in accordance with Article 23.2 of the WTO-TFA. It comprises stakeholders from the Government and the private sectors including trade community. It is headed by Cabinet Secretary.