The Government of India is planning to launch a common data infrastructure of all farmers along with land record details. Dubbed as the UPI for agritech, it can enable financing for small and marginal farmers as well open the field up for and enterprises from across the country to add value to a potential 24 billion sized market.
The Agri Stack comes after the Identity Stack, which brought us Adhaar and mobile number OTP based KYC, and the Payments Stack, which gave us UPI. The Health Stack came later and it’s impact will be felt across the board in a few years.
Benefits of a Common Tech Stack
Currently, companies across the country are reinventing the logistics and supply chain stacks in their backyards. And this is leading to a lot of inefficiency in time schedules for technology adoption, cost, silos of development, and lack of interoperability.
A common tech stack could enable the country to be globally competitive. Faster and deeper penetration of technology will give us better integration of supply chains, shorter turnaround times and lower inventory levels even under the threat of disruptions like COVID-19. Half of the COVID-19 disruption was just the lack of live visibility into supply chains and market trends.
A common technology stack can help create an army of startups and SMEs, make enterprises bring their products and services to even more customers, and a faster merger of the multiple Indias.
In this context, it becomes compelling to ask - where is the Logistics and Supply Chain Stack?
The Logistics & Supply Chain Stack
The secret behind the success of the identity and payments stack was that the GOI was playing a leading role to bring everyone together. As of now, there are no announcements about the GOI playing such a role in establishing a Logistics & Supply Chain Stack. What we have instead today is a new National Logistics Policy in the works. The NLP is something that can enable seamless movement of goods across the country.
There is however a good news. Before delving into it, let us first try to look at what an ideal Logistics and Supply Chain Stack should look like.
A practical stack for India should have:
- An identity verification system for individuals, companies, and assets such as vehicles and warehouses
- A trusted and rugged payments system
- A map and tracking system
- Multi-modal capability - connectivity to rail, sea, air
- Integrations to tolls, fuel
- High accessibility with minimal technology know-how
As we read through the list, it becomes clear that we in fact do not have an absence of a logistics tech stack. At least not since February 2021 when the new policy on mapping was announced.
As of today, India has Vahan, Parivahan, and Adhaar for identification. Warehouses and company credit history is a missing link at this point and brings in risk into the system. The payment networks are in place, mapping is just getting open, and tolls and fuel are already integrated.
What we are missing then, is the consolidation of some of these services into a coherent and easy to access unified system. For organisations operating in the Supply Chain and Logistics industry, this is good news. Striking the right kind of partnerships to create collaborative networks is all that is required for the dam to break.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created enough reason for a 5 year - fast tracking of technology adoption, and we are going to see this in the coming months. Corporate India is working on their budgets for 2021-22. And as it gets rolled out in April, a new India will be visible - a more digital one than we saw in 2020.
The new National Logistics Policy aimed at a 5% reduction in India’s logistics costs along with the adoption of digital technologies should see a significant reduction in input costs for retailers. Coupled with better penetration of the new economy into the next boundaries of markets, retailers are going to see significant growth to their bottom lines.