The NITI Aayog, on Wednesday, revealed its comprehensive national strategy for India. In its a detailed exposition, it covered forty-one crucial areas recognising the progress already made, identifying any limitations, and suggesting the way forward for achieving the clearly-stated objectives.
The comprehensive plan titled ‘Strategy for New India @75’ was released on December 19 at a press conference by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar, the think tank’s member Dr Ramesh Chand and Dr VK Saraswat and CEO Shri Amitabh Kant were also present at the unveiling ceremony.
Laying down a multi-pronged strategy to promote India’s overall development, the plans aims to register an annual growth rate of 9 percent by 2022-23—this would be essential for generating sufficient growth and achieving prosperity for all.
India will complete 75 years of its independence in 2022. Unveiling the document, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “Sound policy will always put economy on track in which it will get perpetually people out of poverty and give them better quality of life,” PTI reported.
The development strategy includes doubling of farmers’ income, boosting “Make in India”, upgrading the science, technology, and innovation ecosystem, and promoting industries such as fintech and tourism.
NITI Aayog plans to make India $4 trillion economy
The NITI Aayog has suggested several economic reforms with the objective to accelerate growth and boost the size of India’s economy to $4 trillion over the next five years.
The blueprint proposes increasing the share of taxes in national income to 22 percent from 17 percent, inclusion of fuel and electricity within the goods and services tax (GST), and privatizing airports, in addition to key railway assets, such as freight terminals, engines and rolling stock.
NITI Aayog noted that besides having rapid growth, it is also necessary to ensure that growth is inclusive, sustained, clean, and formalised.
The think tank suggests that this can be done by increasing the investment rate in the country measured by Gross Fixed Capital Formation to 36% of the GDP by 2022; it is currently at 29%.
The document points out two areas wherein higher public investment will be easily absorbed—housing and infrastructure. “Investment in housing, especially in urban areas, will create very large multiplier effects in the economy,” the report said.
Increasing farmers’ income
The document has not mentioned anything about farm loan waivers, but it has suggested the concept of a minimum support price (MSP) for produce be replaced with that of a minimum reserve price. The latter should be the starting point for auctioning at official wholesale markets, so that farmers can avail at least a basic income.
MSP is the price at which the government buys crops from farmers, irrespective of its price. It acts as a floor price mainly during production shortages, to protect agriculture producers from sharp falls in farm prices.
“Raising MSP or prices can only be a partial solution to the problem of assuring remunerative returns to farmers. A long-term solution lies in the creation of a competitive, stable and unified national market to enable better price discovery, and a long-term trade regime favourable to exports,” the report said.
On the recent announcements by states, such as Madhya Pradesh on farm loan waivers, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that though some states might offer such relief measures for the cash-strapped farmers, the NITI Aayog has not recommended a country-wide waiver.
NITI Aayog Member Ramesh Chand held the view that the government must ensure that farmers get a better price for their crops, besides looking at crop surplus management.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius