The UPA has been in power since 10 years. It inherited a robust economy. NDA did well in its 6 years rule. It overcame the East Asian crisis and one of the worst ever drought. It left behind an 8.5 percent GDP growth.
The last one decade has been a wasted opportunity. The economy grew in the first few years of the UPA on account of the impetus of past policies . Thereafter, a policy paralysis has struck us. Global investors are withdrawing as they lost faith in the Indian economy. ‘I’ in the BRICS may be knocked off. A declining pattern of investment and a reverse flight of the domestic investment out of the country can be seen. Inflation has been unsustainably high in the economy. The food inflation has been a record high. The GDP growth has slumped below 5 percent The manufacturing sector is slowing down. Joblessness is increasing. The poverty alleviation has slowed down. The farm sector has been plagued by a large number of suicides and increased indebtedness. There is slow down in infrastructure development. The power sector reforms brought in by NDA have been plagued by coal block allocation policy.
How did this happen ? The leadership of the Prime Minister was non-inspirational. He commanded no authority. He did not have the last word to overrule others. Rupees seven lakh crores worth of projects have been blocked by various objections. The National Advisory Council was an extra constitutional structure which could overrule the government. Instead of boosting the economy its poverty alleviation schemes were aimed at votebanks. Neither the economy gained nor did the voters benefitted.
The 2G spectrum allocation sent negative signals. It was a corrupt allotment. The court struck it down and criminal law consequences followed. The investments were confiscated. The coal block allocation have been cancelled. The country with a surplus of coal has now to import coal. The power production in India is suffering. The corruption of the Congress has cost us dearly. Yesterday it was said that the Opposition Parties are populist; they can promise to a comb to a bald man. Another one promises a hair-cut to the bald. But the Congress is a party which can charge a kick back both for the hair cut and for the comb.
The taxation policy has to be simplified and rationalized. Sense of economic well-being cannot be built up through an environment of political confrontation. The Congress did that by misuse of investigative agencies.
The Road Ahead
The first right of natural resources cannot be on basis of religion. It must belong to the poor. Geographically the tribals of Central India and the North East must get the first right . India needs growth. All poverty alleviation schemes must be linked to asset creation. Top priority will have to be given to housing, water, power and quality of life. Job creation is the key. Infrastructure such as highways, transportation, ports, townships have to be expedited. Power production has to pick up. India needs manufacturing sector reforms. Tourism potential of the country must be realized. Inter-linking of rivers must be attempted wherever possible. Rationalisation of taxes and increased expenditure on education and health care are the key. The Minimum Income Support to the farming community has to be assured.
The Congress model is to distribute revenue to the poor. At yesterday’s AICC no such suggestion were visible on how to increase growth. If there is no growth there is less revenue, lesser welfare schemes and eventually no votes. The BJP is committed to increase the investments to realize the growth potential of India. . But growth must be accompanied with a social conscience. The expenditure must prioritise the concern for the poor.