Indian Transport & Logistics

An Atmanirbhar logistics ecosystem for a truly Atmanirbhar Bharat

Pidge is a Gurgaon based start-up and an on-demand last-mile logistics service provider. Pidge is currently operational across the 5 cities of Delhi NCR (Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad), helping consumers and businesses fulfil their local delivery and courier needs

An Atmanirbhar logistics ecosystem for a truly Atmanirbhar Bharat

Pidge is a Gurgaon based start-up and an on-demand last-mile logistics service provider. Pidge is currently operational across the 5 cities of Delhi NCR (Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad), helping consumers and businesses fulfil their local delivery & courier needs. Ratnesh Verma of Pidge is writing why it is important to have self-reliant logistics and last-mile delivery partners to become the truly self-reliant economy.

World Bank’s report released in the month of June envisioned baseline forecast as 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020 despite the great efforts put in by countries to control the economic slump while trying to contain the pandemic spread. Amid rising uncertainties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s twenty lakh crore plan for Atmanirbhar Bharat came as a sigh of relief to many startups and small businesses in India. As part of government’s efforts to make India self-reliant in key economic sectors to create resilience for any future downturn, the initiative was much needed to create better economic opportunities from within rather than exposing the economy to external factors.

Past few years, the Indian economy has been directly impacted from either the slump in various markets or conflict between two major economies. The most recent blow came with the pandemic enforced lockdown. To safeguard the nation’s interest, we need self-reliance, now more than ever. On a positive note, the behavioural changes that have occurred due to the lockdown have been nothing but conducive to the growth of inventive spirit in people. Due to the contraction of job markets, people have started turning towards self-employment.

As is said, necessity is the mother of invention, so was seen when people started looking for alternate ways to earn a livelihood while being confined to their homes. Increased accessibility to numerous digital platforms has also played a major role in fueling this reconstruction of consumer behaviour. This changed consumer behaviour has further created growth trajectory for businesses that were agile, had consumer need-based strategy while being digital-first. In parallel, it has also made traditional businesses re-think their business models and strategies.

Logistics: from desire to necessity
A similar transition has been witnessed in people’s attitude towards the logistics industry. Delivery service, which was initially seen as a mere comfort, has now turned into a necessity. From simply being desirable to be categorized as essential, a major shift has occurred. An increased need for self-reliance among businesses and entrepreneurs has made them turn towards those last-mile delivery partners who can take their brand experience to the customer’s doorstep. The want of reaching the customers directly and creating their own brand identity has been pushing entrepreneurs away from getting listed on some well-functioning e-commerce platforms. The augmented growth of direct-to-home business in comparison to the e-commerce space in the last two years is evidence enough.

While on one side on-demand delivery has helped dining brands such as Taj and Hyatt continue their operations and extend the reach of their delicacies, it also has empowered home chefs in scaling their businesses. Certain traditional businesses, which were restricted to a physical space, have also had to make a hard pivot to being present online in order to survive in these turbulent times. There is yet another kind, specifically the small enterprises, which have managed to expand their customer base in this pandemic. Where their target market was limited to some loyal customers and locals before, their reach has increased multifold now. For some traditional bakeries and less popular online shops, for instance, this pandemic has been a blessing in disguise.

Naturally, the attitude and expectations from the last-mile delivery partners have changed. These businesses want to closely control their delivery experiences in accordance with their brand qualities, rather than being dependent on the standard service of an online delivery platform. Government policies for self-reliance too, have supported them to take the plunge.

An Atmanirbhar logistics ecosystem for a truly Atmanirbhar Bharat

Spirit of Atmanirbharta
In October 2019, the government of India had announced its vision of turning India into a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. It also remarked that this goal could end up being challenging but realizable. Now, taking note of the count of billionaires in India in the last ten years, which were around 70 in 2010, around 110 in 2015, and close to 150 today, one can see the increasing figures. The number of billionaires in India has more or less doubled in the last ten years. Where the billionaires club was perceived as being under the hegemony of certain families, some first-generation entrepreneurs have quite recently entered the list.

Not just in India, but a similar scenario can be seen at other places as well. The American economic growth, for instance, has been crucially driven by some self-made entrepreneurs whose businesses have now become major corporations of the world. Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google are a few live examples of it.

This leads to a hypothesis that the key to realize India’s economic aspirations is an increased spirit of Atmanirbharta in its citizens. We need to think of becoming net employment providers as opposed to net employment consumers. To reach this goal, the government has been coming up with various initiatives, each of them supporting self-reliance in different fashion and form. The Make in India initiative, launched in 2014, can be said to support the entrepreneurial spirit at a macro level.

On the other hand, Atma Nirbhar Bharat promotes self-reliance at both micro and macro level. Digital India campaign, launched in 2015, can be seen as an enabler for all other initiatives as such. It can be seen as a platform through which the foundation of Atma Nirbhar Bharat can be profoundly laid down. The next wave of India’s growth story is sure to be driven by the entrepreneurial spirit, more commonly known as the spirit of Atmanirbharta now.

Ratnesh Verma is the founder & leader of Pidge Ratnesh Verma is the founder & leader of Pidge.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Indian Transport & Logistics News.

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