Strategy for Shared, Connected and Seamless Mobility:  States’ Perspective

MOVE Conference, New Delhi
08-Sep-2018

My remarks made at the MOVE Conference, Organized by Niti Aayog at New Delhi on 8 September 2018

It is indeed a great honour to be moderating such a distinguished panel on the seminal topic of seamless mobility, which is key to improving the condition of our cities, as well as the quality of life in India’s urban spaces.

I applaud Niti Aayog’s efforts to focus our attention and imagination on the topic of mobility.

Before we get started on the discussion I wanted to share a quote:

 

“In a quality city, a person should be able to live their entire life without a car, and not feel deprived.”

As a prelude to hearing the views of the distinguished panel, let me set in context the theme of: Strategy for Shared, Connected and Seamless Mobility:  States’ Perspective.

I will touch on these mobility issues under three broad areas:

  1. The current state of public transit in India
  2. Challenges in migrating to shared, connected and seamless mobility
  3. The role of technology
  1. Shailendra Singh, Additional Secretary, DIPP
    1. You have been very closely involved with the Ease of Doing Business agenda since 2014 and have been credited for bring the driving force behind State BRAP and the mission mode approach towards the World Bank’s Doing Business initiative. While we see that the performance of States under the BRAP has improved significantly with some States getting 100% scores, overall country’s performance in World Bank ranking has not seen a similar performance jump – we are still at a 100 rank out of ~190 countries. What do you see is the reason for this?a. You have been very closely involved with the Ease of Doing Business agenda since 2014 and have been credited for bring the driving force behind State BRAP and the mission mode approach towards the World Bank’s Doing Business initiative. While we see that the performance of States under the BRAP has improved significantly with some States getting 100% scores, overall country’s performance in World Bank ranking has not seen a similar performance jump – we are still at a 100 rank out of ~190 countries. What do you see is the reason for this?

      b. Russia has had a similar story vis-à-vis the Ease of Doing Business initiative. Both countries’ progress reflects the government focus on the bank’s rankings as a guide for economic reform. Russia moved from 118 to an enviable 35th position in 2015. One key differentiator that we see in Russia’s approach, is that institutionally it is driven by the Agency of Strategic Initiatives (ASI) an organization that reports directly into the Russian premier on a regular basis. Given that DIPP does not directly regulate on any of the areas assessed by the World Bank, do you feel that in the long term, India can take a leaf from their book to institutionalize EoDB within the governance mechanism of India?

      c. With this year’s World Bank Ease of Doing Business assessment already underway, do you foresee a continued improvement this year? If yes, how much do you expect India to improve?

      d. Can you help us understand why India performs so poorly on Construction Permits indicator? Also, please enlighten this audience on the Government of India’s efforts to address the same.

    2.  Gopal Krishna, Secretary, Ministry of Shippinga. Trade Facilitation has seen significant focus of the government. The Government’s efforts have led to India improving its performance on the Logistics Performance Index fom 54th to 35th in the last edition of the report. However, on the Ease of Doing Business assessment, India hasn’t witnessed similar success with it being assessed at 146th. This is primarily attributed to time taken to export and import goods. Could you share what the Government is planning to do to reduce this time?

      b. What do you feel is currently the most significant road block for Trade Facilitation in India? What is our most significant challenge among regulation, procedures or infrastructure?

      c. I would imagine the multiplicity of stakeholders to be one of the major challenges for Cross Border Trade. We have more than 14 partner government agencies who play a role in regulating the entry / exit of goods in the country. This is in addition to Customs and Port authorities, could you help us understand what the Government is doing to simplify the industries interactions with this multitude of stakeholders?

      d. Can you help us understand how the proposed National Logistics Portal will help ease movement of cargo within the country and abroad?

    3. Shardul Shroff, Executive Chairman, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Coa. Do you think in the Ease of Doing Business domain, India has matched up policy changes/ reforms with effective and efficient implementation?

      b. While the government has undertaken a slew of reforms to bring in efficiency and transparency, do you think the industry on this part also needs to step-up and play its part rather than finding “jugaad” routes?

      c. In India the time taken to resolve a commercial dispute is estimated to be in the range of 1,445 days (nearly four years) compared to Singapore which takes 165 days. What is the biggest hurdle for the judiciary to mirror the success of Singapore and how can we achieve it?

      d. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has received a lot of positive press and the industry is upbeat about the regulation. Yet, if you come to think of it, we haven’t seen majority of disputes pending with the NCLT being disposed of despite the codification of timelines within the code. Given India’s poor track record on contractual disputes, is this a reason for concern, and what should the NCLT do differently to resolve this?

      4. Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Excise & Civil Aviation

      a. We sometimes hear that the BRAP and the ranking of States only pushes States to do well in the rankings (through paperwork e.g. issuing notifications/ setting up websites etc.) and not really do what is required on the ground for enabling ease of doing business. How do we bring the focus of the States on effective implementation (not merely for the purpose of ranking but for bringing real impact on the ground)?

      b. With the rising cost of fuels, do you think the time is ripe for petrol and diesel to be brought within the ambit of GST?

      c. Despite double digit growth, India’s aviation industry is facing challenges: A depreciating rupee on one hand, and the mismatch between high fuel prices and low fares on the other. What in your view is needed to address the same? Do you believe bringing Aviation Turbine Fuel within the ambit of GST would be one such move?

      d. Public private partnership (PPP) airports seem to be doing better than those run by Airports Authority of India. Do you think private participation is the road ahead for airports?

      5. Shihab Ansari Azhar, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank

      a. You too have been closely associated with India’s BRAP and Doing Business reform initiatives and have access to the feedback received from various businesses and industry. Is it true that situation on the ground has only marginally improved especially considering the view that the overall implementation of the reforms has not been effective?

      b. Considering that the World Bank in involved in both country level and state level rankings for India – should it not consider the reforms being done by various states as part of the country ranking?

      c. GST has been the most significant reform measure last year, a fact which has not yet been assessed by the World Bank in the Doing Business report. Given the initial teething trouble with GST compliances, how do you expect India to fare on the indicator and what more do you think India needs to do?

      d. In light of the 30 rank improvement on the Doing Business Report, there exists a public expectation to maintain the momentum of Business Reforms. Can you identify specific areas which the Government needs to work on in the short term to maintain the momentum?