By Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group
The Economic Times
16 May 2017
One could actually list innumerable achievements of the Narendra Modi government, as he completes 1,000 days in office. But if one had to pick one defining theme, what would it be? It would be the sense of optimism and confidence in the air about prospects for India’s future, the buzz that India has created internationally, the sense of every Indian’s involvement in Mission India.
The stock market is at an all-time high, giving the PM a 1,000-gun salute. The foreign investment flows are at record highs too. India’s global ranking has made big leaps, especially in competitiveness and on the innovation index rating. To put the three years in perspective, it is best to look at the Modi government’s accomplishment under three distinct pillars.
Sharply focused programmes
Be it the financial inclusion achieved through Jan Dhan Yojana (over 28 crore accounts opened so far). Or the accelerated deepening of Aadhaar enrolment to near-universal level (over 112 crore Aadhaar cards issued). Or the massive progress in the renewable energy sector. In all of these, one sees a zeal in implementing gigantic high-impact national projects.
All of these set the stage for game changing benefits in the coming years, including better targeting of social schemes and digitisation of the economy, as well as of governance.
Resolution of structural issues
There is the determined effort to resolve some long-standing structural issues. One can list the grand consensus finally achieved on the goods and services tax (GST) after years of deadlock.
The implementation of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme for nursing electricity distribution companies back to health, the recent Ordinance for resolution of the vexed issue of non-performing assets (NPAs), and the institutionalisation of the auctioning process for the allocation of key national resources, are other fine examples in this context.
An innovative approach to policymaking constitutes the third plank. Substituting the Planning Commission by Niti Aayog, the emphasis on cooperative federalism and advancing of the Union Budget are all master strokes. They reflect the many manifestations of a government that is constantly looking for new ways to create a prosperous India.
The boldest decision was, of course, demonetisation, unprecedented in its scale and scope. The short-term and expected hiccup to the economy is way behind us. One looks forward to a steep increase in the tax base and sustained progress in the digitisation of the economy as long-term benefits of this phenomenal move.
The management of the economy over the last three years has been prudent and sound. Softer global oil prices facilitated the process. Still, if there is one thing that needs greater attention on the government’s radar for the ensuing years, it is the revival of investment activity and creation of quality jobs in large measure. The government is seized of these issues.
GoI has taken many steps, including a sharp focus on improving ease of doing business, speeding up green clearances, and stepping up public sector outlays for infrastructure. Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have been buoyant. It is a matter of time before the private sector investments pick up, as NPAs are resolved and corporate balance-sheets are deleveraged.
India is now poised to chart a journey of sustained economic and inclusive growth. We have to build on our strengths and structural advantages. The acceleration of economic reforms and liberalisation initiatives, creatively undertaken by the Modi government, have the potential to rapidly transform India and position it as a prominent and leading power in the world.
Dr. Pragnya RamGroup Executive President, Corporate Communications & CSRAditya Birla Management Corporation Private LimitedAditya Birla Centre, 1st Floor, 'C' WingS.K. Ahire Marg, WorliMumbai 400 030.
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