Let India’s Development Bandwagon Move Forward
On May 23, we will know who our 20 representatives in the Lok Sabha will be. It really should not matter which party they belong to. What should matter is economy over politics. If Thiruvananthapuram swings a surprise, less likely though, we could get a cabinet minister too! Not that the incumbent is of any lesser impact.
While the Narendra Modi government has successfully brought in some much-needed and critical economic reforms like the introduction of a unified tax (GST), implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, real estate regulation (RERA) and development and subsidy reforms, there are few more initiatives to be implemented to put the Indian economy on the fast track. Some of them have far reaching impact on Kerala too. Trade liberalisation, cheaper land acquisition, reforms in higher education, privatisation of banks and privatisation in general, beginning with Air India. The new regime should bring down tariffs and rationalise them at 7 per cent, push down the enormously high land acquisition cost for faster infrastructure development and usher in reforms in the labour markets.
Creating jobs for the 1.5 million people entering the workforce every year should continue to be a priority for the government. Though PM Modi has created an upturn in the performance of the Indian economy, many say there is “economic growth sans jobs.” According to the International Labour Organization’s latest report, the number of jobless in the country increased to 18.6 million in 2018. The need to create a better business environment and in turn, generate more jobs for those leaving agriculture and those coming out of urban schools and universities is a must for the new government.
The last few years have seen India’s rise in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings – from 130 in 2016 to 77 in 2018 (the best rank attained by a South Asian country in recent times). There is an urgent need to power India to higher rankings by reducing human intervention in processes and increasing the use of modern digital technologies to speed up decision making. States need to follow suit and Kerala is doing well in this regard.
We have seen how states like Tamil Nadu have always been on the right side of national politics to ensure they received projects and funds to usher in ‘fast-track progress and development’. It never mattered to Tamil Nadu who ruled at the centre or who was in power in the State. Let us hope our new team of MPs will be able to work across party lines and transcend political ideologies for the benefit of the State and its people, whom they will be chosen to serve.