Monday, February 16, 2015
REFORM TO PERFORM
New Government in INDIA has rolled up his sleeves for a slew of reforms—some have been announced and implemented, some are getting framed and some caught up in administrative, political and legislative tangles.
The initiatives on Jan Dhan, Make in India, Smart Cities, Digital India, Skill India, Clean India, Shramev Jayate and diesel price decontrol are no mean achievements considering the policy inertia in the past few years. The launch of MyGov portal that aims to engage the masses with the reform process, and streamlining various procedures by making them online—be it environment clearance or labour law compliance, has indeed improved the level of governance.
The policy focus is now on rejuvenating manufacturing to create 100 million jobs but what is equally needed is a thrust on accelerating the growth of services sector that contributes close to 60 per cent of GDP and almost half of it coming from small firms. While Skill India is a much-awaited initiative, it has to ensure durable employment opportunities and not a short-term contractual job for the restless youth. Financial inclusion will be of little use unless it leads to poverty alleviation and empowering women, who comprise almost half the population but its share in the country’s labour force is only 29 per cent.
The question is :
Are regulations and policy environment congenial for investors as yet?
Has India’s ranking in ease of doing business improved significantly?
Has the investment cycle revived?
The answer is NO.
Sensex or FDI commitments should not be the lone matrix for measuring the well-being of the 1.2 billion people—retail investors, most of which are urban rich, hold less than a fifth of equity in Indian firms and hence a majority of Indians don’t quite benefit from a rise in share prices.
Expectations and aspirations are soaring, the country is eagerly and restlessly waiting to see the results of these reforms in terms of higher growth, more jobs and entitlements. Which is why, expectations are high that reforms must show visible results and start transforming the lives of Indians.