New Delhi, May 8: In the last six months economic growth pace has come down. In the period of 2004-08 the GDP was growing at an average level of 9%, thereafter for next 2 years the average growth fell down to 7% and in the last few years it has lowered further.
One of the important issues which the lower economic growth brings to the forefront is of job creation and with no economic growth it will be a greater challenge. India can achieve GDP growth rate of well over 6% provided that systemic reforms are carried out quickly by the new Government, said Ajay S Shriram, the new President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Unveiling the CII action theme for the year as ‘Accelerating Growth, Creating Employment’, Mr Shriram noted, “With slowing growth and high inflation adversely impacting employment, CII will urge the next Government to focus on reviving growth and generating new jobs.”
In his press conference, Shriram added that CII has proposed a strong 100-day action agenda for the new governmentto boost growth. “A strong economic revival package and right implementation of policies by a fresh Government can help create as many as 150 million jobs in the next ten years,” he stressed.
“Industry is looking for top policy steps such as introduction of GST, easing of interest rates by 100 bps, keeping subsidies at 1.7 per cent of GDP, and restructuring of labour laws to promote mass manufacturing.” he added.
CII further stated that with continuing robust reforms, GDP growth could be taken back to the 8 per cent level in the next three years. “A market-friendly environment is required that would proactively promote investments, business and entrepreneurship,” said Shriram.
Mass manufacturing sectors and labour-intensive services sectors need to be encouraged, he continued.
Considering the situation of economic growth and need of job creation being crucial we need to focus on economic growth. Looking forward, India requires to create 12-15 million jobs per year for the next ten years to address the employability for the youth. Not having jobs with large population can lead to disturbing of the social fabric of the country.
Key priorities for CII in the coming year will be in the following ten areas: education, skills, economic growth, manufacturing sector growth, investments, ease of doing business, export competitiveness, legal and regulatory architecture, labour law reforms and entrepreneurship.
CII has strongly called for immediate steps of the following policies, among others, in the first 100 days by the next Government:
Introduction of GST; Containment of subsidies and fiscal consolidation; Monetary easing reduction in the repo rate by 100 bps; Maintenance of a competitive exchange rate; Fast-tracking stalled projects and increasing public capital investments; Timely implementation of DMIC and NIMZs; Setting up of state level mechanisms similar to Project Monitoring Group which will review and monitor projects at state level; a strong inter- Ministerial co-ordination group to resolve sticky issues like mining, raw material securitisation for sectors like Steel, etc.
An institutional mechanism to renegotiate the terms of concession in Public Private Partnership Contracts to salvage stranded investments; Expansion of e-governance and technology based initiatives to simplify processes and online monitoring of application forms; Time-bound approvals by introducing ‘deemed approvals’ in case of delays beyond prescribed limit; Restructuring labour laws including introduction of Fixed Term Employment for industry to hire manpower on short term assignments.
CII would continue to provide inputs in the areas of direct and indirect taxes to help India emerge as an attractive destination for business.
In agriculture, CII’s Food and Agricultural Center of Excellence (FACE)is studying the impact of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act (APMC) which needs to be revamped to delist perishables. CII will also undertake a study on gas pricing and its impact on end-users, macro-economic indicators and the investment environment. Supply chain bottle necks need to be addressed for reducing food losses and increase farmers income.
In manufacturing, it will work with concerned Ministries and State Governments on delayed projects and also on specific policies, particularly for labour-intensive sectors. CII has called for quick implementation of the National Manufacturing Policy and would bring out a report on Mass Manufacturing policy.For MSMEs, CII plans to launch a Finance Facilitation Centre and initiatives to link Indian SMEs with global value chains. MSMEs can play an instrumental role for job creation.
In services, CII will constitute National Services Competitiveness Council and develop a sectoral strategy for doubling of services export by 2025. It has targeted several sectors such as Tourism and Hospitality, Financial Services, Telecommunications and Professional Services for export promotion.
In skill development,CII will help implement the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and continue to work on Sector Skills Councils. It will also focus working on vocational education, Microfinance/credit to vocational training for the youth. It is important that in the short term the Apprenticeship Act 1961is amended to take out the compulsion of jobs to apprentices, this will enable industry to deploy a larger number of apprentices which will help them gain training for jobs.
For better quality higher education, one of the CII interventions will be to launch the 100-100 program where 100 CII member companies will create 100 Faculty Sabbaticals who will spend two/ three months in industry to explore multi-level partnerships like research, curriculum, and skills development.
In labour laws, CII will create platforms for sharing best practices from industry which have helped in fostering better industrial relations within the current framework. Labour laws should be under the state purview and each state should devise its own labour policy. In addition, it will work with its membership, Trade Unions, Central and State Governments for creating consensus on various issues.
To improve the ease of doing business in India, CII will present to the government best practices in the states which can be emulated in the areas of land acquisition, contract enforcement and taxation. CII has been strongly underscoring the need for a reduction in transactions cost of exports to overcome difficult business conditions abroad. In this context, CII has constituted a task force on transactions costs which proposes a framework for building an efficient trade facilitation mechanism in India.
In order to support entrepreneurship, CII will significantly expand its PPP initiative “India Innovation Initiative” to select the most innovative entrepreneurs through a pan-India competition. (ANI)