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Reforms Key To Making India A Superpower

For us change has been a constant since times immemorial. Perhaps it’s the single-most important reason that enables us to shift gears steadily and ride the thin-and-tough road to progress

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For close to seven decades now, India has brimmed with opportunities, be it in development or ‘rise of the new’ sectors.

As we see at Adventz, reforms help private players to take charge for makng the country stronger, globally relevant and economically self-driven. In the new millennium, technology has had an all-encompassing role in fueling innovation, progress and optimisation. For growth-intensive India, the PPP model has been a unique proposition whereby the public intent is enhanced manifold by private players.

One of the critical requirements is to bring in impact-worthy reforms in agriculture, considering that the sector employs as much as 48.9 percent of India’s workforce (with the lion’s share in rural regions), and contributes 17.32 percent to the national GDP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has talked about doubling farmers’ income by 2022; this does not exactly mean doubling the agricultural output.

To increase farmers’ income there’s a crying need for implementing micro-irrigation projects via the PPP model, whereby water can be transported to fields via last-mile channels and sumps from large reservoirs, rivers and rainwater sources. Further, amendments in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act would ensure direct access to markets for farmers, particularly for high-value produce such as fruits and vegetables; adequate cold-storage chains to optimally streamline distribution of perishable goods; availability of hybrid seeds and micro-finance facilities for farm equipment purchase, agri-inputs and holding of harvested goods. The latest reform of DBT for subsidy distribution directly to farmers will go a long way in achieving balanced use of nutrients, based on soil health cards.

Agricultural reforms need to be inward looking for India to achieve self-reliance and food security -- in the long run, the sector has the potential to integrate with global trade and boost exports.

On the other hand, Infrastructure needs a booster dose not just to fulfil domestic needs but TO also ensure Make in India has global acceptance, significance and relevance, through competitive costs.

For a country to grow beyond its stable economic position it is essential to sell beyond its geographical limits, particularly its industrial products. Exports essentially need government financial backing and Indian diplomatic missions’ active participation in sorting out issues encountered in overseas markets.

Indian firms should be allowed a lead role in major government-funded domestic projects in order to help them develop expertise and imbibe international practices to be more competitive in the global market.  Of course, success of such a reform would primarily depend on the government investing in infra projects of global nature.

While GST has done away with most of the indirect taxes, refunds need to be fast-tracked to make the Indian manufacturing story more robust and wholesome. At present, taxes are deducted upfront and refunds are based on returns filed. There’s a need to ensure that the refunds are paid out on a monthly basis. Also, there’s a last-mile fulfilment that the latest tax laws require in view of some industries being at a disadvantage in terms of cash outflow and GST credit accumulation. However, the GST slabs should be limited to two instead of the five in operation.

A cauldron of cultures, we Indians are resilient to change. For us change has been a constant since times immemorial. Perhaps it’s the single-most important reason that enables us to shift gears steadily and ride the thin-and-tough road to progress. In all this, the moot point is we adapt well; reforms to become an economic powerhouse is a logical progression for India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Saroj Poddar

The author is Chairman, Adventz Group

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