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Sarbananda Sonowal attends MoU signing ceremony between MoPSW and IIM, Shillong

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SHILLONG : The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW) and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal attended the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between the MoPSW and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to set up India’s first ‘Gati Shakti Research Chair’ here.

The Chair will spearhead high-quality academic research on multimodal logistics with a North-East focus: building knowledge on multimodal logistics development strategies and practice in the North-Eastern region, facilitate knowledge and innovation for logistical capacity building in the region. The chair also aims to foster collaboration with global experts in creating and developing knowledge & expertise while strengthening the links between the multimodal logistics research and capacity-building activities with key stakeholders such as the logistics industry, government bodies, local authorities, and other partners and associations. The chair will also support the multimodal logistics research activities, capacity building and outputs to enable PM Gati Shakti Masterplan to power the East and North-East Region’s logistical capacity.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Sonowal said, “Today, I feel fortunate to be amongst all my young friends from the prestigious IIM. The aura of Yuva Shakti has energised our resolve to continuously move towards achieving the goal of a Viksit Bharat by the end of Amrit Kaal. The ensuing 25 years are your Kartavya Kaal to continue on the empowerment led development of India. With the establishment of this chair at your prestigious institute, the Northeast is poised to take lead in the research & development of multimodal logistics activities, capacity building and outputs. Students fraternity will now have an opportunity to hone their skills and build their careers in the field of logistics.”

A Strategic Round Table was also organised to discuss the multimodal logistics development strategy for connecting the North Eastern Region (NER) to the wider national and international regions to strengthen the local economy at the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong. The meet attempted at  strategising for the development of a collective NER logistics Policy in line with the National Logistic Mission as well as steps for the operationalisation and implementation of the policies related to multimodal logistics in the NER.

Many Ambitious projects such as Arth Ganga and Mahabahu Brahmaputra have been initiated to foster holistic socio-economic development along the River Ganga and River Brahmaputra. These reforms have yielded positive economic outcomes, as evidenced by India’s ascent in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, climbing from 54th in 2014 to 38th in 2023, marking a notable improvement of 16 positions over the span of a decade.

Speaking on the scope for logistics sector in the Northeast, the Minister said, “Under Narendra Modi ji, the Northeast region has experienced unprecedented growth and development with sustained peace. The region witnessed revolutionary infrastructural advancements, development in digital connectivity, prolific economic growth, and several other significant accomplishments. The Narendra Modi government has invested over ₹14 lakh crores in infrastructure development and connectivity of the North east. Only through this commitment and intensive efforts has India’s northeast become front and Centre of New India’s growth story. The newly inaugurated Gati Shakti Chair will act as a catalyst to realise the full potential to emerge as a vital logistics hub connecting South Asia with South-East and East Asia.”

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, through its Gati Shakti Research Chair, reaffirms its crucial role in advancing the objectives of the Gati Shakti vision. This initiative not only underscores the Ministry’s commitment to foster research and innovation but also underscores its recognition of the vital significance of multimodal logistics in the overall development of the NER and establish a robust institutional support. The Ministry will also actively guide in shaping the research agenda, steering research priorities in line with the nation’s multimodal connectivity objectives, providing valuable industry insights, and facilitating collaboration among researchers, policymakers, and industry stakeholders. The MoPSW’s participation ensures that the Gati Shakti Research Chair at IIM Shillong can effectively contribute to shaping policies, optimising logistics, and enhancing the efficiency of transportation infrastructure in the NER.

Adding further, Shri Sonowal said, “Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the inertia in the logistics industry, plagued by indecisiveness of previous government, got an overhaul as focussed approach was conceived and implemented to bring speed, efficiency and build economies of scale in logistics sector. Since 2014, a new Logistics Division was created, PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan for Multi-Modal connectivity was launched, a National Logistic Policy was announced, and a Unified Logistics Interface Platform was designed. Under Modi ji, the central government’s annual capital expenditure on infrastructure projects such as roads, ports, railways, and airports has grown from less than₹2 lakh crore to more than ₹11 lakh crore.Cargo handling capacity at our Ports has doubled, and two new mega green field Ports are in the pipeline. With the mission of ‘Transformation via Transportation’, we are on a steady course to ranking in the top 25 in the Logistics Performance Index in the next five years.”

The Gati Shakti Chair initiative aims to foster stronger collaboration between the government and academia, leading to the development of high-quality public research in integrated, multi-modal logistics, and supply chain resilience. This platform will also play a vital role in enhancing the capacity of students and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the region to fully leverage the benefits of initiatives like the PM Gati Shakti National Masterplan, National Logistics Policy, and the Unified Logistics Interface Platform. IIM Shillong will spearhead efforts to enrich the intellectual environment, bolster research capabilities, broaden research involvement, and strengthen the connection between academia and industry practitioners.

Shri Sonowal was also joined by the Members of IIM Shillong Board of Governors, Atul Kulkarni, Bijon Dey Saiwan, Member, IIM Shillong Board of Governors, along with Director, DP Goyal among teachers and students of the institute.

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