A multi-sectoral roadmap for recovery | Analysis – analysis
The government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have initiated many activities for economic recovery. What is most needed is a proactive action plan for growth to rebound to 6-7% in 2021-22. International economists have forecast a major decline in all economies except India and China, where growth will slow but may not contract. Because Germany and Japan displayed willpower and determination after World War II, we can overcome the impact of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) by teaming up nationally, as a team. There are 10 major reforms that will pay off in the economy.
One announces the next green revolution. While the green revolution in the 1960s resulted in a massive improvement in productivity, India still ranks 103 out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index. Therefore, we must improve farm productivity and introduce more automation in agriculture. Boosting the agricultural processing industry with an integrated cold chain, streamlining logistics, and building mega food parks will lead to the stated goal of doubling farm income.
Two, we must establish smart villages with essential services. This will involve the modernization of more than 600,000 villages, and can transform the lives of at least 500 million citizens. It will also decongest cities. Ten essential services are required in the villages: pucca housing, all-weather roads, 100% electrification, clean water, affordable gas, broadband infrastructure, medical clinics, elementary and secondary schools, kisan shops and farms.
Three, we must establish more special economic zones (EEZs). Following the government’s announcement of lower taxes on new units, and an attractive Make in India policy for the electronics sector, all other sectors need aggressive manufacturing policies to build a supply chain base that is not dependent on China. . India is a far superior option to smaller Asian countries due to its huge domestic market that needs to be served first. This can be accomplished by updating current EEZs and establishing new EEZs similar to Shenzhen and Pudong to make them great employment enclaves. Energy and logistics must be regionally competitive and supported by a simplified approval and authorization process.
Four, schools and undergraduate education need to be updated. Many boys still do not have access to upper secondary education and universities, especially girls. We need much more investment in middle schools, upper secondary schools, and undergraduate universities, with digital and future-oriented curricula.
Five, we must invest in modern healthcare infrastructure. India ranks 145th globally according to the Access and Quality of Healthcare Index, 2018, with a single state hospital for every 55,591 people, a deficit of 500,000 doctors, and just 0.55 beds per 1,000 people. After Covid-19 has exposed gaps in India’s healthcare system, we cannot delay further investment in vital infrastructure. Furthermore, telemedicine services must be promoted.
Six, we must focus on the development of superior technology. India lags behind and must focus on research and development. The government has allocated Rs 8,000 crore under the National Mission for Quantum Technologies, launched a digital platform to facilitate the enforcement of intellectual property rights, created knowledge translation groups for various technology sectors, and provided Rs 6,000 crore for BharatNet to link 100,000 grams of panchayats. Along with the private sector, the government must advance the national 2030 technology agenda.
Seven, ensure a major boost in infrastructure development. The next decade will see investments in infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports, airports, and subways. The government has already made a budget allocation of Rs 102,000 crore for the next five years. Considering that a similar amount can be allocated in the next five years, the total amount will be a great stimulus for infrastructure development and employment.
Eight more sectors should be open to 51% -100% of foreign direct investment (FDI). India has a high international capital requirement, and there is considerable liquidity with many global sovereign wealth funds. There are many sectors where foreign investment is allowed only up to 49%. This needs to be improved to 74% or even 100%. Additionally, we need to provide a red carpet for foreign investors by creating one-stop dispatch facilities in the states and the Center. The focus should be on renewable energy, storage, biotechnology, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
Nine, we must globalize the national champions. We should help big Indian companies become big global multinational corporations (CMNs). Businesses and industrial houses in the private sector (Tatas, Birlas, Reliance, HDFC and Mahindras) and in the public sector (NTPC, ONGC, BHEL, SAIL and SBI) must be supported to improve globally.
Finally, we must show industry leadership models. We should nominate top government leaders, multinationals, large national companies, the public sector, and startups to promote the key qualities of entrepreneurship, deep planning, rapid execution, innovation, and transparency aimed at international success. . In this way, the young engineers and managers who are the leaders of the future will be inspired.
The best is yet to come for the Indian economy. We just need to prioritize new investments in key sectors for creating millions of jobs to achieve the goal of becoming a $ 5 trillion economy. Charlie Chaplin once said, “Nothing is permanent in this evil world, not even our problems.” Keep this in mind in the future.
Manoj Kohli is chief, Softbank India, and directs government relations for the group in India.
The opinions expressed are personal.