Federal policy think tank NITI Aayog has suggested several economic reforms with an aim to accelerate growth and boost the size of India’s economy to $4 trillion in the next five years.
The blueprint, called the “Strategy for New India@75”, released in the city by finance minister Arun Jaitley and NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, proposes increasing the share of taxes in national income to 22% from 17%, inclusion of fuel and electricity within the goods and services tax (GST) and privatizing airports, as well as key railway assets such as freight terminals, engines and rolling stock.
The idea is to take steps that will keep India’s $2.7 trillion economies steadily expanding by about 8%, which could quicken to 9-10% by 2022-23, making India a $4 trillion economy. “It is also necessary to ensure that growth is inclusive, sustained, clean and formalized,” the blueprint said.
The document, which captures the National Democratic Alliance administration’s prescription for future reforms and growth milestones, comes just months ahead of national elections due by May.
Explaining the need for the blueprint, Jaitley said sound policy measures would put the economy on track, lift people out of poverty and improve the quality of life.
The strategy paper lays emphasis on completing major infrastructure projects such as the first phase of Bharatmala Pariyojana, laying roads in the north-eastern region and digitally connecting 250,000-gram panchayats through the Bharat Net programme by 2019. It aims to deliver all government services up to the gram panchayat level digitally by 2022-23. It also proposes using idle land available with state-owned companies for productive use, giving every family a pucca house and ensuring power for all. Production of minerals is another priority for which the blueprint proposes a revamped exploration policy and a regulator.
One key area of reform proposed by NITI Aayog is privatization of key government assets. The document advises that the government exit non-strategic sectors by divesting its stake, which will add to the exchequer. Liberalizing foreign ownership limits across industries, encouraging foreign investments in government securities and easing rupee bond limits are among the key suggestions.
NITI Aayog has suggested that the investment rate is boosted from 29% of GDP in FY18 to 36% by FY23.