NITI Aayog : Fast Tracking Freight in India – UPSC GS3

Objectives of the Fast Tracking Freight in India Report:
  • Establish a coherent vision for a cost-effective, clean, and optimised freight transport system in India.
  • Quantify the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of the freight system.
  • Describe techno-economically feasible solutions that would collectively deliver those benefits.
India’s Logistics Sector:
  • Currently, India’s logistics sector represents 5% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector employs around 2.2 crore people.
  • India handles 6 billion tonnes of goods each year, amounting to a total annual cost of INR 9.5 lakh crore.
  • These goods represent a variety of domestic industries and products:
    • 22% are agricultural goods,
    • 39% are mining products and
    • 39% are manufacturing-related commodities.
  • Trucks and other vehicles handle most of the movement of these goods. Railways, coastal and inland waterways, pipelines, and airways account for the rest.
Measures need to accommodate more urban citizens:
  • India’s freight activity will grow five-fold by 2050 and about 400 million citizens move to cities. So, a whole system transformation can help uplift the freight sector.
  • This transformation will be defined by tapping into opportunities such as:
    • Increasing share of rail-based transport
    • Optimisation of logistics and supply chains.
    • Shift to electric and other clean-fuel vehicles.
  • These solutions can help India save Rs. 311 lakh crore cumulatively over the next three decades
Other measures recommended by the Fast Tracking Freight in India Report:
The Logistic sector can reduce its rising CO2 emissions and high logistic costs by following measures:
  • Increasing the rail network’s capacity
  • Promoting intermodal transport
  • Improving warehousing and trucking practices
  • Policy measures and pilot projects for clean technology adoption and
  • Stricter fuel economy standards.
Benefits of these measures: These measures will lead to the following benefits:
  • Reduces the logistics cost by 4% of GDP
  • Achieves 10 gigatonnes of cumulative CO2 emissions savings between 2020 and 2050
  • Reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions by 35% and 28%, respectively until 2050.
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