India’s economy can grow at 9-10 per cent in the medium-term with a multi-pronged economic strategy, industry body CII said on Wednesday, outlining ten areas requiring policy attention that can bring huge economic benefits for growth, investment and employment creation.
The areas highlighted by the industry body for more attention include macro-economy, mining, manufacturing, land acquisition, energy, labour reforms, skill development, taxation, financial sector and Companies Act.
On macro-economy, it hoped that the government would stay the course on fiscal discipline.
“Setting a ceiling on subsidy expenditure would be an important step in that direction,” said CII President Sumit Mazumder.
The industry body suggested that all subsidy disbursal may be converted into direct benefit transfer (DBT) by linking Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and mobile technology or the JAM trinity, including for foodgrains, LPG and kerosene, within two years.
Welcoming the government’s resolve to introduce GST, CII said the indirect tax reform would add 1.5 percentage points to the GDP growth rate.
On Land Acquisition Bill, CII suggested that compensation package should be reviewed to reduce rehabilitation and resettlement costs as sellers receive multiples of market value on acquisition.
The consent clause from Gram Sabhas should be dropped as it is already required from land owners for Schedule V areas, it suggested.
“There is huge need for ex-ante zoning of land for identification of land use over a 100 year time horizon and establishment of State Land Bank Corporations for scientific acquisition and disbursal of land parcels for industrialisation and urbanisation,” Mazumder said.
The industry body welcomed several path-breaking economic reform measures announced by the Narendra Modi-led government during the last one year and called for continuing the strong momentum across ten critical areas.
“The government has exceeded the expectations of industry in the area of economic reforms. We are hopeful that the government would continue to maintain strong momentum of reforms going forward,” Mazumder added.
The industry body categorised the government’s achievements during the year into four areas: corruption-free governance; economic diplomacy; empowerment of states; and putting in place key policies to revive investment in the economy.
With transformational changes being envisioned not only on the economic front but also on the social, technology and foreign policy fronts, the first anniversary of the Modi government has been marked by fresh thinking on all major areas of governance, CII said.
On infrastructure, the industry body suggested renegotiation of PPPs, securing government approvals before award of projects, long-term financing options, systematic exit policies and dispute resolution, among others.
It also highlighted that non-performing assets in the infrastructure sector must be distinguished from those in other sectors.
In the area of energy, CII requested the government to address financial health of distribution companies to facilitate expansion of power and coal sectors.
“The Electricity (Amendment) Bill draft separating carriage and content is in accordance with CII recommendations and should be passed speedily. In the hydrocarbons sector, there is need for a roadmap for transition to a market-based gas pricing,” it said.
In the mining sector, it said exploration by private sector can be facilitated through an Exploration Fund for scarce minerals.
It also emphasised on a National Steel Policy with focus on availability of ores and coal, a reasonable tariff regime, long-term financing, and skill development.