Bikky Khosla | 26 Apr, 2016
The second leg of the Budget Session began Monday and this
has brought the GST question again to the fore. Over the last few years, this
bill has remained at the top of the legislative list of the Government, but
unfortunately the effort to pass the bill has made little headway so far. This
time, the fate of this much-anticipated indirect tax reform legislation again
depends on whether the Centre can build a consensus with the Opposition.
Besides, several other key bills -- including Insolvency and Bankruptcy
Code, Land Bill and Companies (Amendment) Bill -- are also pending for
approval, and it will be interesting to see how things change by the end of the
Concerns abound that the ongoing Session is hardly going to be smooth,
particularly with the Government and the Opposition speaking in conflicting
voices on the Uttarakhand issue. It will be nothing new if the Parliament fails
again to push reforms, but I think that should not be the end of the road.
Instead, the Centre should -- while continuing its effort to pass the key
reform bills -- keep straining its every nerve to push reforms through
executive actions. There should be a constant effort to improve ease of doing
business, increase administrative efficiency, improve existing laws and wipe
out corruption. Only this can help us make up for the long wait and time
already lost due to political obstructionism.
Meanwhile, the Centre has set itself a goal of removing poverty in 16 years. A
recent report by NITI Ayog states that "Growing at 10 per cent will
transform India -- India will be a $10 trillion economy with no poverty in
2032". The PM identified eight themes -- accelerated growth with inclusion
and equity; employment generation strategies; universal access to quality
health and education; good governance; farmer-centric Issues in agriculture and
allied sectors; Swachh Bharat and Ganga Rejuvenation; energy conservation and
efficiency and innovative budgeting and effective implementation -- based on
which the action plan has been prepared. The goal sounds ambitious, but the
intent is praiseworthy.
In another positive development last week, India has emerged as the top-ranked
nation in the flow of foreign direct investment in 2015. During the year, the
country attracted $63 billion worth FDI projects and there was an 8 percent
increase in project numbers to 697. This data reflects the continuous effort of
the government to create a suitable climate in which foreign investors
feel confident. In an interview, a top government official said that more FDI
reforms are on the cards, with the government considering putting more sectors
under the automatic route. Such moves will help the economy to stand out in the
gloomy global economic situation.
I invite your opinions.