Thursday February 22, 2018
Home Uncategorized Motor Vehicle...

Motor Vehicle Agreement signed between India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal to ease cross- border movement

0
//
271
picture: www.ekantipur.com
Republish
Reprint

saarc10

Thimpu: India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal on Monday signed a far-reaching agreement here that will enhance regional connectivity by facilitating seamless movement of people, goods and vehicles among the four nations, with the first phase set to begin in October.

The Transport Ministers of the four countries inked the Motor Vehicles Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN MVA).

India was represented at the meeting by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.

“This (BBIN MVA) would enable the exchange of traffic rights and ease cross-border movement of goods, vehicles, and people, thereby helping expand people-to-people contact, trade, and economic exchanges between our countries,” a joint ministerial statement later said.

According to the statement, all the four countries will endeavour to carry out a six-month work-plan from July to December 2015 for the implementation of BBIN MVA. The staged implementation of the project is slated from October 2015.

During the meeting, Gadkari, who also hold charge of the shipping ministry, said: “We understand our advantage of linking with all our neighbours. Simultaneously, we recognise our additional responsibility to accommodate our neighbours’ concerns.”

“We are and will remain flexible enough to address various challenges faced by our neighbouring countries and are always ready to support their initiatives to bridge various deficits.”

Under the work-plan for project implementation, the formalisation of the BBIN MVA is expected to be completed by August. The installation of project pre-requisites like IT, infrastructure, tracking and regulatory systems are scheduled by December 2015.

The joint statement called BBIN MVA a complementary instrument to existing transport agreements at the bilateral levels between the four countries. This, it said, will continue to be honoured by the contracting parties.

The statement further said that the protocol is also a result of strong determination expressed by the leaders of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at their 18th summit in Kathmandu in November last year to deepen regional integration.

The leaders also noted with concern, the poor merchandise trade under the free trade pact, which amounted to a mere $3 billion since July 2006.

“We further recall their renewed commitment to substantially enhance regional connectivity in a seamless manner through building and upgrading roads, railways, waterways infrastructure, energy grids, communications and air links,” the joint statement added.

The joint statement’s reference to the SAARC MVA assumes significance as the stalled agreement prompted the 18th summit to encourage member states to initiate regional and sub-regional steps to enhance connectivity. The BBIN MVA is the culmination of that development.

Gadkari announced in the meeting that a major breakthrough has also been achieved between India-Myanmar and Thailand and that the three nations have agreed to develop a similar framework agreement on the lines of the draft SAARC MVA.

“Secretary-level discussions were successfully concluded in Bengaluru this month and consensus has been reached on the text of agreement,” the minister said.

“On conclusion of this agreement, our sub-region will get access to the larger ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market through seamless passenger and cargo movement.” (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

How telecom has become driver of economic change in India

0
//
16
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front.
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. Wikimedia Commons
  • India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution
  • The sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991
  • India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world

For the most part of human history, the change was glacial in pace. It was quite safe to assume that the world at the time of your death would look pretty much similar to the one at the time of your birth. That is no longer the case, and the pace of change seems to be growing exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it succinctly when he wrote in 2001: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Since the time of his writing, a lot has changed, especially with the advent of the internet.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution. The country’s hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. In fact, according to Reserve Bank of India data, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991, growing by over 10 percent. On the other hand, no other sector has had a productivity growth of above five percent during the same period. It is no wonder that it has also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, growing at over seven percent in the last decade itself.

Also Read: Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

Such an unprecedented pace of growth has been brought about the precise levels of change that Kurzweil was so enthusiastic about. Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Meanwhile, India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world, which has hit rock bottom after the entry of Reliance Jio. This has ensured access to those even at the bottom of the pyramid.

A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country.
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

Even though consumers have come to be accustomed to fast-paced changes within the telecom sector, the entry of Jio altered the face of the industry like never before by changing the very basis of competition. Data became the focal point of competition for an industry that derived over 75 percent of its revenue from voice. It was quite obvious that there would be immediate economic effects due to it. Now that we’re nearing a year of Jio’s paid operations, during which time it has even become profitable, we saw it fit to quantify its socio-economic impact on the country. Three broad takeaways need to be highlighted.

Also Read: Quoting WhatsApp message renders ‘delete’ feature ineffective

First, the most evident effect has been the rise in affordability of calling and data services. Voice services have become practically costless while data prices have dropped from an average of Rs 152 per GB to lower than Rs 10 per GB. Such a drastic reduction in data prices has not only brought the internet within the reach of a larger proportion of the Indian population but has also allowed newer segments of society to use and experience it for the first time. Since the monthly saving of an average internet user came out to be Rs 142 per month (taking a conservative estimate that the consumer is still using 1 GB of data each month) and there are about 350 million mobile internet users in the country (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data), the yearly financial savings for the entire country comes out to be Rs 60,000 crore.

To put things in perspective, this amount is more than four times the entire GDP of Bhutan. Therefore, mere savings by the consumer on data has been at astonishing proportions.

Today's smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons
Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons

Now, this data has been used for services that have brought to life a thriving app economy within the country. So, the second level of impact has been in the redressal of a variety of consumer needs — ranging from education, health and entertainment to banking. For instance, students in remote areas can now access online courseware and small businesses can access newer markets. Information asymmetry has been considerably reduced.

Third, a rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. These effects arise not merely from the creation of an internet economy, but also due to the synergy effects it generates. Information becomes more accessible and communication a lot easier. Businesses find it easier to operate and access consumers. Labour working in cities has to make less frequent trips home and becomes more productive as a result. Education and health services become available in inaccessible locations. Multiple avenues open up for knowledge and skill enhancement.

Also Read: Facebook to ‘Signal’ news gathering for journos

An econometric analysis for the Indian economy showed that the 15 percent increase in internet penetration due to Jio and the spill-over effects it creates will raise the per capita levels of the country’s GDP by 5.85 percent, provided all else remains constant.

Thus, India’s telecom sector will continue to drive the economy forward, at least in the short run, and hopefully catapult India into 20,000 years of progress within this century, as Kurzweil postulated. The best approach for the state would be to ensure the environment of unfettered competition within the industry. Maybe other sectors of the economy ought to take a leaf out of the telecom growth story. The Indian banking sector comes to mind. However, that is a topic for another day. (IANS)

(Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. He can be contacted at Amit. Kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya. Chirag Yadav, a senior researcher at the institute, has contributed to the article.)