Introduction Five of these crucial challenges have always been with us. Yet, when the new Government takes over, it does have these challenges that will haunt the Prime Minister and those in authority. The five major problems are a) Reviving agriculture b) Stimulating growth in stagnating sectors c) Increasing regular employment in millions d) Balanced growth and development and e) Critical review of the role of the private sector.
Reviving agricultureThis is the priority number one. Agricultural growth has stagnated over several years. The loan write-offs may not solve the problem. A much deeper study is needed of investment patterns, judicious use of scarce resources like water and also addressing concerns regarding sharing of river waters. This has become a big issue and some States like AP are trying to address this problem by linking its own rivers. This is an excellent solution. The population of India is growing by leaps and bounds. It is a big headache in the core Hindi belt, where the literacy levels are very poor. Hundreds of thousands of these untrained and uneducated people have taken up all sorts of jobs everywhere in South India. They need support from their native States. The decline of agriculture is the main reason for this sort of mass migration. This is a big issue. Agricultural growth has stagnated at just 3 to 4 percent growth of the GDP. It must be noted that still, around sixty percent of people live in villages. The Government of India should actually strengthen the Public Distribution System and give the poor in the villages more subsidies. The rich farmers need not be given any subsidies. The poor and the farmers with very small holdings need all Government support. The respective State Governments should make it mandatory for students of their agricultural colleges to spend their summer vacation in the villages and learn from the real world experiences. They should also carry forward their learning and help the farmers. An entire generation is growing up now and this generation is averse to working in agriculture. Ten years down the line, this can pose the biggest problem as there will be declining numbers to enter agriculture or get engaged actively in it. The Government of India needs a pan-India focus and not merely on the core Hindi speaking States.
Stimulating growth in stagnating sectorsEven when the Government of India goes about building a relationship with the foreign Governments to bring in new Foreign Direct Investment, the need to revive growth in stagnating sectors like the real estate sector, the steel and cement sectors and so on, needs urgent attention. Tax sops can help a great deal. Reduction in GST rates, as applicable is still advisable as the new GST regime is causing big pain to everyone. Big businesses have also been affected. A sector-wise analysis of growth and decline needs to be taken up by economic advisors and then these people need to come out with pragmatic solutions on how to revive sentiment in every sector. This has to be done very urgently. In particular, the question of subsidies in industries like sugar needs to be reviewed immediately and then pragmatic action taken to solve all problems of sugarcane growers and so on.
Increasing regular employment in millionsThis has been a major issue with the previous Government of India. The actual growth of the educated employed on regular rolls happened first when the banks expanded to the nook and corner of the country and were totally computerized. We now have the core banking solutions, pan-India and this is a massive development. This banking sector should not be encouraged to take people on contract. The Government of India has been very shortsighted in not promoting regular employment at all. Contractual employment of even the highly educated, like the IT professionals in hundreds of jobs can only help the capitalists. The atrocious NEEM scheme, where the employers do not even pay ESI or PF is a typical example of exploitation. This should go. The same scheme should be amended to pay the regular PF and ESI benefits to the individual. It should be noted that the NEEM scheme is blatant exploitation by the employers, who happily reduce cost by employing thousands of NEEM trainees. It should be noted that the learning curve is so small in many industries. The NEEM trainees get to do regular jobs. Their heartburn is understandable. Regular jobs should be more encouraged and the factory inspectors should report on the changes made.
Balanced growth and developmentThe South of India has developed by leaps and bounds in the past two decades. The major growth has happened only due to the relatively high amount of educated manpower available in the major cities for employment in the BPO and IT sectors. Their incomes have given the total economies a big boost. When people are assured of their regular income, consumption, and spending patterns improve a great deal and this is a proven fact. The massive growth of the real estate sector can be easily attributed to the massive investments made by young IT professionals. In the Hindi States, even basic industries like Power are in the doldrums. The infrastructure growth has not been commensurate with the growth of the population. The educated manpower needs jobs and all of them can never be absorbed by the Government. The Government of India should make a quick review of whatever is pending in terms of growth in these areas and then quickly address such problems. The North East is likely to go back to Naxalism of a different kind if the development concerns are not properly addressed. The infrastructure needs to be vastly improved at every stage and this is a big priority for the Government of India.
Critical review of the role of the private sectorThe Vijay Mallaya scam, the Nirav Modi scam and so on, have brought back the focus on the role of the private sector. The big corporate companies have debts running into several crores of rupees. That is thousands of crores. These are essentially bad loans and the banks are even suffering to stay above danger levels. There is a need to quickly review the private sector's role. The emphasis should be on improving jobs through the support to the small and medium sectors. The Government of India needs to provide a good number of incentives for these businesses to grow and unless some urgent action is taken, the country will soon face a big crisis. The RBI is now trying to do something to bring back the banks to the black. These efforts should be encouraged.
One does hope that the private sector's role is quickly reviewed and no industrialist worth his name should be allowed to play around with public money. This is often called Other People's Money. This is nothing but the deposits put in by thousands of ordinary Indians. This should be more judiciously spent. We need a massive change in approach. This is also a big agenda for the Government of India and there is no time. It should spring into action immediately.
ConclusionThe massive tasks of the new Government of India need a quick review. The five major challenges awaiting the Government have been discussed in some detail in the aforesaid paragraphs.
A frank article about the major issues that the new BJP government has to tackle in India.
The agrarian crisis in India is something that the government should seriously look into. Loan waiver is a good election stunt but to deliver it and keeping the word to help the debt-ridden farmer is a tough task. This happened in the recent Karnataka elections. Many promises were made but not kept leading to further suicides. The departments should come up with plans to entice our youth to work and run farms and agricultural lands so that we have a new generation of farmers in most parts to ensure our crop production and not end up depending on imports from other countries.
With regards to growth and GST, I feel the teething problems of GST are slowly being taken care of. The next five years would be the time to be positive to reap the benefits of the GST changes.
As far as creating jobs are concerned, we need to have honest and transparent data in hand and then look at creating a new range of sectors so that new jobs are created in addition to the existing conventional ones.
Balancing growth uniformly in the country is a major problem in many countries. The new government should try and focus on developing the second tier cities and smart townships to support the existing overburdened metros. It should also invite investment and development in areas that are lagging behind.
I fully agree with the last point that the new BJP government should bring in measures so that we do not have a repeat of the Nirav Modi or the Mallya scams. The banks and the loan grants should be under scrutiny and a stringent penalty for officials involved in the scam should become a reality.
In my opinion, the major task of the government is to eliminate corruption at all levels. All government transactions should be carried out as per the rule book and there should not be any deviation considering personal benefits or help to the known. There should be transparency in all the transactions.
In addition to that, the government should focus on the development of the country. Every citizen of the country should have equal rights and responsibilities. The government should support the poor to come up and the gap between well to do and poor people should be brought down.
The government should show ways and means to the people to make way for leading a happy life instead of giving them free SOPs. The government should show a way to earn rather than giving.
Last but not least, the country should be made free of all the terrorist activities and ensure that the people in the country lead a peaceful life.