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Last updated: 26 Apr, 2016  

Parliament.9.Thmb.jpg Executive driven reforms

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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 ongoing Session.

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.

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