Friday, 16 May 2014

Agenda for The New Government

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The decisive mandate handed to the Narendra Modi-led BJP reflects India’s overwhelming desire for strong leadershIp that will drive change. Expectations are high from the new government, which will have to deliver on its promise of a better life for every single Indian. And the only way it can do so is by reviving the economy and putting Indian on a path of sustainable and equitable growth.

The Indian economy has stalled because of a sharp decline in investments. Policy uncertainty and pending regulatory clearances have put over $100 billion worth of projects in jeopardy. Capital goods production has contracted in nine of the past 12 months. Therefore, swift action is needed from the new government to de-bottleneck projects and revive investment sentiment in the country.

To begin with, the government will have to focus on regulatory reforms that will improve the ease of doing business, reduce transaction costs and expedite approval timelines.  There is thus an urgent need for a system of ‘deemed approvals’ and ‘automatic approvals.’ To attract FDI, the government will have to ensure fast-track project clearance and articulate unambiguous tax and compliance regulations.

Information technology needs to be leveraged optimally to make administrative governance in India transparent and stakeholders accountable. E-Governance should become the backbone of regulation. 

Science & Technology is of strategic importance to India’s future leadership and the new government will need to step up its investment in research and translational innovation. 

The government will also need to tackle India’s energy and water crises on a "war footing."

Increased investments in healthcare and education and greater involvement of the private sector can ensure effective and transparent delivery of the ‘Right to Health’ and ’Right to Education.’

The fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong.  However, our economic engines of growth have been throttled by wrong policies and regulations in the past.

The new government needs to exhibit strong political will to implement bold economic reforms, create world-class infrastructure, usher in overdue tax, labour, land and regulatory reforms, address the power deficit and roll back unfriendly business regulations.

The new government has been provided a historic opportunity to bring positive and far-reaching change, it cannot afford to belie the hopes of a billion Indians.

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