India shipping ports
A fisherman prepares to cast his fishing net in the waters of the Vembanad lake as a container ship is seen docked in the background, at a port in Vallarpadam near Kochi.Reuters

The central government is mooting the idea of setting up ten integrated mega parks near ports to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). The parks would be constructed with the latest technologies that would be on par with major mega parks in China and the US. Textile Secretary Ravi Capoor said that the state governments have given a very encouraging response when a proposal was sent from the ministry. In the latest global competitiveness report, India slipped 10 places to 68th place.

Textile secretary highlighted some serious issues which are hampering India's competitiveness across all sectors. As per a report in the Economic Times, in major Free Trade Agreements, its competitive index is effecting its bargaining power due to the perception that the country is not so competitive. Capoor added, "A country which is competitive need not fear about anybody, no country. Our fears stem from the fact that we know we cannot sustain the onslaught of the most competitive country or that particular product."

Indian economy
A worker sits on a ship carrying containers at Mundra Port in GujaratReuters

What is an Integrated mega park? 

But what is integrated mega park and what benefits does it provide, let's find out. Since ports facilitate major chuck of trade across countries, it becomes an epicenter of all the business activities right from manufacturing, supply chain, and transportation. An integrated mega-park is a facility that has all the components and has multiple benefits. The first and foremost advantage of a mega park near ports is the reduction in transport cost especially in a country like India where the road infrastructure is yet to be developed completely. 

Moreover, the reduction in transportation has a multiplier effect on time and cost which eventually led to an increase in trade and business. In an event organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the textile secretary further added, "The government is very seriously contemplating mega parks in this, maybe ten and compete with the best of the world. Provide...integrated parks close to the port. Today when you say about China-US trade war, they are looking for places to invest."

As per data by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India has 373 special economic zones (SEZ) which are somehow similar to integrated mega parks, out of which only 230 are functional. In contrast, China has 19 SEZs and coastal development areas but the output produced by these park in comparison to India is huge which is directly reflected in the size of the economies of the two countries.