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Strategy for New India @ 75

”The collective effort of 1.25 billion Indians is transforming the country. The Union Government is an active partner in the people’s quest for building a New India by 2022. It is our endeavour to create an ecosystem which enables every Indian to reach his or her full potential. This will pave the way for inclusive growth, and ensure prosperity to all. Policy is a necessary catalyst for change. We are, therefore, reforming our policy architecture to achieve the best outcomes. Much has been achieved, but more needs to be done”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in his foreword to   the ‘Strategy for New India @75’ prepared by NITI Aayog and released by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in the presence of NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday 19 December 2018.

Prime Minister added, “The ‘Strategy for New India @75’ put together by NITI Aayog is an attempt to bring innovation, technology, enterprise and efficient management together, at the core of policy formulation and implementation. It will encourage discussion and debate, and invite feedback for further refining our policy approach. We believe that economic transformation cannot happen without public participation. Development must become a Jan Andolan”.

Strategy for New India @75 is the comprehensive national Strategy that defines clear objectives with focus to further improve the policy environment in which private investors and other stakeholders can contribute their fullest towards achieving the goals set out for New India 2022 and propel India towards a USD 5 trillion economy by 2030.

  • It is a detailed exposition across forty-one crucial areas, that recognizes the progress already made, identifies binding constraints, and suggests the way forward for achieving the clearly stated objectives
  • Details key recommendations across Growth Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance.

Growth Drivers focus on engines of economic performance that include growth and employment, doubling of farmers’ incomes; upgrading the science, technology and innovation eco-system; and promoting sunrise sectors like fintech and tourism. It says, “Besides having rapid growth, which reaches 9-10 per cent by 2022-23, it is also necessary to ensure that growth is inclusive, sustained, clean and formalised.” “An annual rate of growth of 9% by 2022-23 is essential for generating sufficient jobs and achieving prosperity for all,”

  • Steadily accelerate the economy to achieve a GDP growth rate of about 8% on average during 2018-23.
  • This will raise the economy’s size in real terms from USD 2.7trillion in 2017-18 to nearly USD 4 trillion by 2022-23.
  • Increase the investment rate as measured by gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) from the present 29% to 36% of GDP by 2022.
  • In agriculture, shift the emphasis to converting farmers to ‘agripreneurs’ by further expanding-National Agriculture Markets and replacing the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act with the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act.
  • Give a strong push to ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ techniques that reduce costs, improve land quality and increase farmers’ incomes. This has emerged as a tested method for putting environment carbon back into the land.
  • To ensure maximum employment creation, complete codification of labour laws and a massive effort must be made to upscale and expand apprenticeships.
  • Launch a mission “Explore in India” by revamping minerals exploration and licensing policy.

Infrastructure section deals with the physical foundations of growth which are crucial to enhancing the competitiveness of Indian business as also ensuring the citizens’ ease of living and key recommendations in the section on infrastructure include:

  • Expedite the establishment of the Rail Development Authority (RDA), which is already approved.
  • RDA will advise or make informed decisions on an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism for the railways.
  • Double the share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways.
  • Initially, viability gap funding will be provided until the infrastructure is fully developed.
  • Develop an IT-enabled platform for integrating different modes of transport and promoting multi-modal and digitized mobility.
  • With the completion of the Bharat Net programme in 2019, all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats will be digitally connected.
  • Aims to deliver all government services at the state, district, and gram panchayat level digitally by2022-23.

Inclusion section deals with the urgent task of investing in the capabilities of all of India’s citizens. The three themes in this section revolve around the dimensions of health, education and mainstreaming of traditionally marginalized sections of the population. And the key recommendations in the section on inclusion include:

  • Successfully implementing Ayushman Bharat programme including establishment of 150000 health and wellness centres across the country, and rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (PM-JAY).
  • Create a focal point for public health at the central level with state counterparts. Promote integrative medicine curriculum.
  • Upgrade the quality of the school education system and skills, including the creation of a new innovation ecosystem at the ground level by establishing at least 10000 Atal Tinkering Labs by 2020.
  • Conceptualize an Electronic National Educational Registry for tracking each child’s learning outcomes.
  • As already done in rural areas, give a huge push to affordable housing in urban areas to improve workers’ living conditions and ensure equity while providing a strong impetus to economic growth.

Governance section delves deep into how the governance structures can be streamlined and processes optimized to achieve better developmental outcomes and the key recommendations in the section on governance include:

  • Implement the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission as a prelude to appointing a successor for designing reforms in the changing context of emerging technologies and growing complexity of the economy.
  • Set up a new autonomous body, viz., the Arbitration Council of India to grade arbitral institutions and accredit arbitrators to make the arbitration process cost effective and speedy, and to pre-empt the need for court intervention.
  • Address the backlog of pending cases – shift part of workload out of regular court system.
  • Expand the scope of Swachh Bharat Mission to cover initiatives for landfills, plastic waste and municipal waste and generating wealth from waste.

As stakeholders have been consulted widely in preparing the ‘Strategy for New India @75’, its intent  to creation of a mass movement for development in which “every Indian recognises his or her role and experiences the tangible benefits” is laudable and that “policymaking will have to be rooted in ground realities” rather than economic abstractions.

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