Strategy for New [email protected]: NITI Aayog Strategy Document to Make India $ 4 trillion Economy

The government think tank Niti Aayog has unveiled the Strategy for New India @ 75. This comprehensive national strategy defines clear objectives for 2022-23. The strategy provides for a detailed exposition across forty-one crucial areas. Together with the progress already made, the strategy identifies binding constraints, and suggests the way forward for achieving the clearly stated objectives. The strategy was prepared through wide consultations with all three groups of stakeholders, viz., business persons, academics including scientists, and government officials.

Recommendations for New India @ 75

The strategy document with 41 chapters has been disaggregated under four sections, which are: Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance. The major recommendations are outlined below:

Recommendations under Drivers:

The section of drivers focuses on the engines of economic performance with chapters on growth and employment, doubling of farmers’ incomes; upgrading the science, technology and innovation eco-system; and promoting sunrise sectors like fintech and tourism. The recommendations in this section include:

  • Accelerating the economy to achieve a GDP growth rate of about 8% on average during 2018-23. This will increase the economy’s size in real terms from USD 2.7trillion in 2017-18 to nearly USD 4 trillion byv2022-23.
  • Increasing the investment rate as measured by gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) from the present 29% to 36% of GDP by 2022.
  • In agriculture, shift the focus for converting farmers to ‘agripreneurs’ by further expanding National Agriculture Markets and replacing the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act with the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act.
  • Encouraging ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ techniques that reduce costs, improve land quality and increase farmers’ incomes. This has emerged as a tested method for putting environment carbon back into the land.
  • Ensuring of maximum employment creation, codification of labour laws and undertaking massive effort to upscale and expand apprenticeships.
  • Revamping minerals exploration and licensing policy by launching a new mission “Explore in India”.
Recommendations under Infrastructure:

The section on infrastructure deals with the physical foundations of growth which are crucial to enhancing the competitiveness of Indian business as also ensuring the citizens’ ease of living. The recommendations in this section include:

  • Expediting the establishment of the Rail Development Authority (RDA) which has been approved already. RDA would aid railways to make informed decisions on an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism.
  • Doubling the share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways and providing for viability gap funding until the infrastructure is fully developed.
  • Developing an IT-enabled platform for integrating different modes of transport and promoting multi-modal and digitized mobility.
  • Completion of the Bharat Net programme in 2019. All 2.5 lakh gram panchayats to be digitally connected. This would aid in delivering all government services at the state, district, and gram panchayat level digitally by 2022-23.
Recommendations on Inclusion:

The section on Inclusion focuses on the urgent task of investing in the capabilities of all of India’s citizens. This section has three themes which revolve around the dimensions of health, education and mainstreaming of traditionally marginalized sections of the population. The recommendations in this section include:

  • Successful implementation of the Ayushman Bharat programme by establishing 150,000 health and wellness centres across the country, and rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (PM-JAY).
  • To create a focal point for public health at the central level with state counterparts and promoting integrative medicine curriculum.
  • Upgradation of the quality of the school education system and skills, including the creation of a new innovation ecosystem at the ground level by establishing at least 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs by 2020.
  • Conceptualizing an electronic national educational registry for tracking each child’s learning outcomes.
  • Giving a huge push to affordable housing in urban areas to improve workers’ living conditions and ensure equity while providing a strong impetus to economic growth as already done in rural areas.
Recommendations on Governance:

The section on governance focuses on how the governance structures can be streamlined and processes optimized to achieve better developmental outcomes. The recommendations in this section include:

  • Implementing the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission as a prelude to appointing a successor for designing reforms in the changing context of emerging technologies and growing complexity of the economy.
  • Setting up of a new autonomous body, viz., the Arbitration Council of India to grade arbitral institutions and accredit arbitrators to make the arbitration process cost effective and speedy, and to pre-empt the need for court intervention.
  • Addressing the backlog of pending cases by shifting part of workload out of regular court system.
  • Expand the scope of Swachh Bharat Mission to cover initiatives for landfills, plastic waste and municipal waste and also generating wealth from waste.

The strategy India @ 75 is an attempt to bring innovation, technology, enterprise and efficient management at the core of policy formulation and implementation. Successful Implementation would be a tribute to the great warriors who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India.

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