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Last updated: 04 Apr, 2017  

Up.9.Thmb.jpg FY18: The way ahead

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Bikky Khosla | 04 Apr, 2017

An eventful financial year has come to an end. In the global front, it was the Brexit referendum that came as the biggest shock of the year, taking not much time in fuelling talks of another global recession. Then the US presidential election result stunned the world, followed by the ripple effects in global financial markets caused by the US Fed's hawkish stance on rate hike. In the domestic front, what stood out as a historic economic moment was the demonetisation of high value currency notes, raising fear of a renewed slowdown in the Indian economy. But none of these fears materialised into reality, and the year in fact ended on a high note, with the passage of the key GST related bills in the Parliament.

So, what's next. With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) becoming a definite possibility, the Government should now turn its focus on resolving the bank NPA crisis. Gross NPAs of public sector banks increased to Rs 6.06 lakh crore as on December 31, 2016 as compared to 5.02 lakh crore at the end of March last year, and I think the longer this situation lingers, the more worrying it will get for the economy. The government has already taken several steps, including the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, amendments to the DRT and Sarfaesi Acts and more foreign investment in asset reconstruction companies, but the crisis has refused to abate, and so it is time to think afresh.

Interestingly, while the Central government is struggling with the bank NPA crisis, some states, including the recently elected BJP government in UP, have announced agriculture loan waivers for small and marginal farmers. No doubt there is an urgent need to help our drought and debt-hit farmers, but these measures seem more populist than sensible and may result in the benefits hardly reaching the intended beneficiaries as it was the case with the UPA government's mega loan waiver scheme announced ahead of the 2009 LS polls. In contrast, adopting a focused and well-planned series of actions can save a lot to the exchequer while providing a real relief to the poor farmers.

Meanwhile, there has been a lot of hue and cry recently over making Aadhar mandatory for PAN cards. The SC last week said that nothing prohibited the Centre using Aadhar for non-welfare schemes like PAN cards, a provision introduced by the Centre through an amendment to the Finance Bill to get rid of tax evaders who possess multiple PAN cards. While Aadhar today covers more than 111 crore people, it hardly makes any sense to now take any back step at this stage. In contrast, Aadhar can complement the government's bold anti-corruption moves and aggressive push for digital transactions in a big way in bringing the shadow economy into the mainstream to increase revenue for the government and funds for public utilities.  

I invite your opinions.

 
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Loan waiver to the farmers
S Chakraborty | Thu Apr 6 04:58:45 2017
A focused and well-planned series of actions can save a lot to the exchequer while providing a real relief to the poor farmers instead abrupt loan waiver.


Building public confidence
Rohit Tandan | Wed Apr 5 05:46:18 2017
While the government has taken many steps to make an individual transparent to the government, but nothing substantial has been done to make the government transparent to the public. There is no "effective" grievance redressal system in place. This does not promote peoples partnership in development.


 
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