Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Six Economic Priorities For Modi Government

Updated: July 26, 2014 4:12 pm

The task for the incumbent government becomes even tougher when we take into account the high expectations of the youth for the generation of additional employment opportunities and lucrative job offers. No less are the expectations of the common masses for bringing down the consumer price index

Consistently rising fiscal deficit, soaring prices of essential commodities, rampant corruption and scam cases and virtual stagnant rate of growth of economy are what the Narendra Modi government has inherited from his predecessor. The task for the incumbent government becomes even tougher when we take into account the high expectations of the youth for the generation of additional employment opportunities and lucrative job offers. No less are the expectations of the common masses for bringing down the consumer price index, which has already wrought havoc upon their general well-being and the standard of living. There is no denying the fact that the path of economic advancement and bringing back the economy on the track of fast growth trajectory ahead is filled with bumps and bottlenecks but this is the very price which Narendra Modi has to pay for the unprecedented landslide victory accorded to him by nearly 1.26 billion population of the largest democracy on the earth. To courageously brave the predicament the present government has been stuck in as well as to reach to the pinnacle of the economic prosperity. Here are given the six economic priorities for the new government which need to be religiously adhered to:

Education needs to be moulded as per the needs of industries

The Indian education system is churning out millions of graduates, postgraduates, degree holders and qualified people every year and, most importantly, they stand in queues before the employment exchange offices for the jobs the very next year. However, there is virtually no dearth of colleges and universities in the country. The significant problem is that of scarcity of that ilk of the educated people who can dovetail the needs and norms of various industries in the country and abroad. There is considerable lack of infrastructural facilities and latest know—how in our education institutes. The conventional education system and hackneyed pedagogy has aggravated the already critical situation in the education sector. The global accreditation of our academic institutes is abysmally poor vis-à-vis other developed nations’ institutes in the world. The Narendra Modi government needs to bring about holistic paradigm changes in the education system to make it viable for the industries in this age of cut-throat competition. This step can generate what we all may call the much-needed additional job opportunities to do away with the chronic problem of unemployment.

Skill development—the new mantra of accelerated growth

Skill comes from training. We have a large force of untrained people but very meager portion of them are trained and skilled. What the country urgently needs now is a large number of trained and skilled labour force to accelerate the production and the Gross Domestic Product in almost entire sectors of the economy. The real estate, transport, communication, agriculture, infrastructure, power, housing and various other segments are badly suffering from the problem of crunch of skilled and trained labour. The government needs urgently to chalk out a flawless plan to make huge investment in the areas of research; training and skill development of the diploma and degree holders of the youth who make a precious pool of human resource of the country. What the government also requires is to give priority to the promotion and upliftment of science and research works in colleges and universities.

Boost to private sector investment

The public sector financial constraints in the wake of ever-burgeoning public expenditures on the social welfare programmes and development activities are well-known. These financial bottlenecks are wreaking havoc upon the further expansion and implementation of development programmes and projects of the country. There is no denying of the fact that the private sector can play a vital role in the rejuvenation of moribund and stagnant industrial production. Who can deny that the further investment by the private sectors in various segments may prove to be a blessing in accelerating the growth rate of the nation? By offering this sector the various sorts of benefits, especially like those of tax holidays and cheap credit facilities by the banks may turn around the situation for the faster and better scenario in the economic prosperity of the nation. The contribution of the private sectors to further accelerate the development of the long-ignored public health and power sector, especially in rural areas is yet to be recognised and established. Working on the making of more number of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would prove to be an unprecedented booster for the private sector investments in those sectors where the development works have long been lagging behind. Undoubtedly, this move of the government would also generate much- needed employment opportunities.

Preserving the buffer stock of food grains

Wastage of millions of tonnes of hard-procured food grains of the buffer stock per year wants an urgent overhauling. Who can deny that rodents, pests, germs and stray cattle feast on these food grains which are meant for providing food security to the entire nation, not to ask of the proletariat segments of the society who make more than one fourth of 1.26 billion population of the nation? Worse is the situation when we need to pay billions of hard-earned dollars on the import of thousands of tonnes of food grains annually from Australia, Canada and other developed nations of the world. The government must first build more warehouses and expand the storing capacity of the Food Corporation of India’s godowns. The private sector participation may ease the task that demands huge investments. Besides, the balance between the target and actual procurements of food grains every year for the maintenance of the buffer stock must be streamlined. Because in the case of more actual procurement than the targetted amount leads to anomaly in their preservation. Faulty distribution of these food grains too asks for serious review of the plan that becomes the reason for the rotting of the food grains and sale of inferior quality of food grains to the beneficiaries of the various social welfare programmes run both by the state and central governments. By only preventing the government-procured food grains from the wastage may the government get freedom from the purchase of heavy amount of food grains every year from various nations of the world?

Reorienting inflation—cutting formulae

Skyrocketing increase in the prices of essential commodities as well as petroleum and petroleum products has worsened the situation over the past one decade. In fact, the persistent rise in the prices is caused by a lot of factors that greatly influence the economy. From the rise in the production cost to the demand for the good and services by the common masses do considerably affect the price level in a certain time period. But one thing is sure—the government must make plans to increase the production of the commodities which in turn would help rise the supply in the economy. Agriculture needs to be rejuvenated and for this a sound agrarian policy would do the needful. Marginal farmers’ condition is surprisingly deplorable and they are precariously perched on the path of committing suicide. First, distribution of economic subsidies needs to be justified and well streamlined. Lending by the commercial banks must be made need-based. The government must show its willingness to co-operate with the monetary policy of the RBI to bring down the inflation rate. Black marketing, hoarding and other malpractices to create artificial scarcity of the goods call for immediate and stringent action by the government. Monitoring and implementation of the various measures to stabilise the price level must be effectively made within a stipulated time period with utmost surveillance.

Faster decision-making process

Last government bore the brunt of dilemma and dilly-dallying in giving approval to the various development projects and programmes that made the big news in the media.

Lack of green signals from the government on the issues of land possession and environmental hurdles prove to be the biggest obstacle in the final approval of the development projects in the country. The government must make up mind and hasten the decision-making process. Bureaucratic red tape, unnecessary delays due to hierarchical paraphernalia and vacancy of the authorities must not prove to be suicidal for the various prospective development projects.

By Shreeprakash Sharma

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