[Answered] Both Gati Shakti and NLP should be reconstituted to embrace, in the first instance, regional economic integration in the Indian subcontinent and then extend this to the larger Asian and global economy. Comment.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain why there is need of reconstitution of Gati Shakti and NLP for regional and global economic integration. Also write some ways to achieve regional and global economic integration.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The Gati Shakti National Master Plan is an important step for India to upgrade national infrastructure and multimodal connectivity. The National Logistics Policy aimed at easing the movement of goods and boosting the trade sector in the Indian economy.

Need of reconstitution:

  • Rail sector suffers from many structural deficiencies which have to be eliminated fast if the logistics cost has to be halved to global benchmarks. The railways need to have a time-table based goods operation. It has to become an aggregator at the source of freight, and disaggregator at the destination, to capture the high-value small-load business (as against rake-load goods).
  • For decades the country has talked about eco-friendly and cost-effective inland waterways freight movement, but nothing has happened. There is valuable learning available from the river ports of China.
  • Road logistics is a totally fragmented sector, where a large chunk of truck owners have a very small fleet.
  • It is necessary to improve air logistics and drastically improve the transport of high-value and perishable items.

Ways to achieve economic integration:

  • By reducing the cost and time of doing trade through infrastructure modernisation at home, India will continue to have a positive impact on the price of commodities and developmental targets in neighbouring countries.
  • Government should work collaboratively on various regional institutions and platforms to develop a regional vision and standards for connectivity, reducing bilateral transaction costs etc. g. India’s integrated check post lack complementary infrastructure on the other side of the border.
  • Working through these multilateral platforms like SAARC, BIMSTEC etc. will help India develop a regional vision and standards for connectivity, reducing bilateral transaction costs.
  • By cooperating more closely with global players like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Japan, the US, Australia, EU and ASEAN. They come with expertise and expectations about connectivity standards, whether it is on e-commerce, environmental and social impact assessments of infrastructure or technology platforms.

For India and her neighbours, stronger political will is required to combat barriers to trade in the region, especially after the COVID-19 crisis which may result in unleashing a new wave of protectionist measures.

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