According to Mr S Ramakrishna, Chairman, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) the Budget 2019-20 announced by Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman on July 5 can be seen as an on-going task reiterating the commitments that the NDA Government has set in its Vision Document. It is commendable the new Finance Minister presented a pragmatic Budget aiming to reach the US$ 5 trillion economy in the next few years, with required emphasis and focus on infrastructure, multimodal connectivity and logistics operation. Significantly, the Government has decided to create and promote Inland Waterways and allied infrastructure to reduce logistics cost. It is heartening to note that after recently launched multimodal terminal at Varanasi, more similar terminals will be completed at Sahibganj and Haldia and a navigational lock will be created at Farakka by 2019-20 FY. “We will be expecting more such terminals in North East India as well, like strengthening the existing terminal in Pandu (Guwahati) and new one in Jogighopa, in Goalpara Assam, which is very strategic region from foreign trade’s perspective utilizing effective multimodal connectivity with special thrust on waterways. It would be very crucial to expedite international cargo movement to Bangladesh and beyond. Also, it is commendable the Finance Minister emphasized on resolving all litigations on fast-track basis to facilitate trade and commerce.
Mr Ramakrishna also lauded the Finance Minister’s announcements to boost MSME sector. The Minister announced that for ease of access to credit for MSMEs, Government would be providing of loans up to 1 crore for MSMEs within 59 minutes through a dedicated online portal. Under the Interest Subvention Scheme for MSMEs, 350 crore has been allocated for FY 2019-20 for 2% interest subvention for all GST registered MSMEs, on fresh or incremental loans.