The journey to taking India’s economy to the $4 trillion level requires deeper reforms
The resounding and unprecedented mandate in favour of Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections signals two very clear indicators: firstly, voters across India appreciate the Modi 1.0 governance, and secondly, voters across India look up to Modi to lead India into its 75th Anniversary.
As Modi 2.0 continues its journey towards taking India’s economy to the $4 trillion level in the next four years, deeper reforms towards increasing exports and reducing imports along with fiscal reforms would need to be on fast track. On the law and policy front this means a plethora of changes to drive the economy in that direction.
The first step in this direction will be needed to fill the departmental gaps in decision and policy making by consolidating departments with natural synergies. The examples of these gaps are many, contributing to some of the drag in pace of reforms in Modi 1.0. Some of them are:
* Innovation & ideas economy enabling areas of governance such as technology, innovation, intellectual property rights, entrepreneurship & skilling are all administered by multiple departments/ministries under Modi 1.0.
* Infrastructure development governance such as roads, shipping, waterways, railways, civil aviation are all administered by multiple departments/ministries under Modi 1.0.
* Natural resources & energy development & security governance such as environment, forest, climate change, earth sciences, mines, coal, petroleum & natural gas, renewable energy, atomic energy are all administered by multiple departments/ministries under Modi.10.
* Data quality, statics and planning are under different departments/ministries under Modi 1.0 where there is scope for groundbreaking improvement to avoid data points of the government either being found incomplete or unreliable across sectors and development indicators.
These examples are some illustrations and there exists an acute need for similar synergy plug-ins to effectuate a fast-track decision-making and effective implementation. Existence of policy gaps is reflective of existence of such governance gaps.
Further, the pace of implementation of police depends on timely amendments in laws and formulation of requisite regulations across sectors. On one hand, the legislative changes by way of amendments of existing laws or by way of replacing old archaic laws with new ones itself is a time-taking exercise, the need to ensure qualitative legislative drafting is also essential very essential to avoid judicial interventions on account of either gaps in policies or quality of legislations drafting.
The mineral policy of 2019 adds up to the 25 previous policies of Modi 1.0, which need legislative support at various levels, which is a must priority for Modi 2.0 now.
Additionally, the underlying acceptance and acknowledgement of the switch from a parliamentary to a presidential style of functioning is a signal to take note of. Ease and pace of decision-making and policy direction under this style of functioning has shown its advantages, which has been acknowledged and revalidated by the people of India by a resounding support. This is a step in the direction of efficient governance which can be completed with evaluating and effecting reforms in the electoral system to move closer to proportionate representation of votes cast in the parliament as against the first-past-the-post to enable governments improved plug-ins with the electorate.
As India celebrates the victory of democracy, by giving itself the most stable dispensation by far, capable of decisive policy/decision-making and effective implementation, it is time for Modi 2.0 to ask people of India to fasten their seat belts to a fast track ride to the $4 trillion mark in the next four years!
(Kumar is the founder & managing partner of Hammurabi & Solomon Partners & a visiting fellow with the Observer Research Foundation.)