- On 15th August 2022, independent India has turned 75. In the lifespan of nations, India is still young. The best is surely yet to come. India’s youthful and aspirational population deserves a rapid transformation of the economy, which can deliver double-digit growth, jobs and prosperity to all.
- The purpose of this, ‘Strategy for New India @ 75’, is to define clear objectives for 2022-23 in a diverse range of 41 areas that recognize the progress already made; and challenges that remain; identify binding constraints in specific sectors; and suggest the way forward for achieving the stated objectives.
- The Strategy document has disaggregated the 41 sectors under four sections: drivers, infrastructure, inclusion, and governance.
- The first section on drivers focuses on the engines of economic performance – in macroeconomic terms with chapters on growth and employment.
- The section also discusses strategies for the doubling of farmers’ incomes; boosting Make in India; upgrading the science, technology and innovation ecosystem; and promoting sunrise sectors like fintech and tourism.
- An annual rate of growth of 9 percent by 2022-23 is essential for generating sufficient jobs and achieving prosperity for all. Four key steps, among others, have been spelled out for achieving this GDP growth rate. These are:
a. Increase the investment rate as measured by gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) from present 29 percent to 36 percent of GDP by 2022. About half of this increase must come from public investment which is slated to increase from 4 percent to 7 percent of GDP. Government savings have to move into positive territory. This sharp increase in the investment-to-GDP ratio will require significantly higher resource mobilization efforts as elaborated in the chapter on Growth.
b. In agriculture, emphasis must shift to converting farmers to ‘agripreneurs’ by further expanding e-National Agriculture Markets (e-NAMs) and replacing the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act with the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (APLM) Act. The creation of a unified national market, a freer export regime and the abolition of the Essential Commodities Act are essential for boosting agricultural growth.
c. A strong push would be given to `Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) techniques that reduce costs, improve land quality and increase farmers’ incomes. This is a tested method for putting environmental carbon back into the land. Therefore, ZBNF allows India to significantly contribute to reducing the global carbon footprint.
d. To ensure maximum employment creation, codification of labour laws must be completed and a massive effort must be made to upscale apprenticeships.
- The second section on infrastructure deals with the physical foundations of growth. A lot of progress has been made across all infrastructure sectors. This is crucial to enhancing the competitiveness of Indian business as also ensuring the citizens’ ease of living. Three key steps, among others, are:
a. Expediting the establishment of the Rail Development Authority (RDA), which is already approved. RDA will advise or make informed decisions on an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism for the railways. Investment in railways will be ramped up, including by monetising existing railway assets.
b. The share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways will be doubled. Initially, viability gap funding will be provided until the infrastructure is fully developed. An IT-enabled platform would be developed for integrating different modes of transport and promoting multi-modal and digitised mobility.
c. With the completion of the Bharat Net programme in 2019, all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats will be digitally connected. In the next phase, the last mile connectivity to the individual villages will be completed. The aim will be to deliver all government services at the state, district, and gram panchayat level digitally by 2022-23, thereby eliminating the digital divide.
- The section on inclusion deals with the urgent task of investing in the capabilities of all of India’s citizens. The three themes in this section revolve around the various dimensions of health, education, and mainstreaming of traditionally marginalized sections of the population. While there are multiple dimensions and pathways contained in the chapters in this section, four key steps, among others, are:
a. Successfully implementing the Ayushman Bharat programme including the establishment of 150,000 health and wellness centres across the country, and rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan.
b. Upgrading 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.
c. As already done in rural areas, affordable housing in urban areas will be given a huge push to improve workers’ living conditions and ensure equity while providing a strong impetus to economic growth.
d. Implementing strategies to achieve regional equity by focusing on the North-East region and successfully rolling out the Aspirational Districts Programme.
- The final section on governance delves deep into how the tasks/business of government can be streamlined and reformed to achieve better outcomes. It involves a sharp focus on ensuring accountability and a shift to performance-based evaluation.
- The government will revamp its data systems and analysis so that all policy interventions and decision-making are based on evidence and real-time data. This will yield efficient and
targeted delivery of services and justice to those who need them the most.
- Three key steps, among others, are:
a. 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 the growing complexity of the economy.
b. A new autonomous body, viz., the Arbitration Council of India, may be set up 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.
c. The scope of the Swachh Bharat Mission may be expanded to cover initiatives for landfills, plastic waste and municipal waste and generating wealth from waste.
- To achieve the goals of New India in 2022-23, it is important for the private sector, civil society and even individuals to draw up their own strategies to complement and supplement the steps the government intends to take. With the available tools of 21st-century technology, it should be possible to truly create a mass movement for development. With the Sankalp of all Indians, India will have Siddhi.
Check out our previous blogs on the Strategy for New India at 75:
- Inclusion- Skill Development
- Inclusion- Public Health Management and Action
- Inclusion- Comprehensive Primary Health Care
- Inclusion- Human Resources for Health
- Inclusion- Nutrition
- Inclusion- Gender
- Inclusion- Senior Citizens
- Inclusion- Persons with Disability
- To ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety for transgender persons, enabling them to actively participate in economic development and the nation-building process.
- As per Census 2011, India had 4.87 lakh, transgender persons. The transgender community is among one of the most marginalized communities in the country. Extreme social exclusion diminishes their self-esteem and is a violation of their human rights. An Expert Committee constituted under the direction of the Honourable Supreme Court recommended several measures to ameliorate their problems. Following that, the “Scheme for Transgender Persons” was launched.
- Parliament is yet to pass the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2016.
- Accurate identification of transgender persons is a major challenge.
- The implementation of the “Scheme for Transgender Persons” is suboptimal.
- Provide for identification of transgender persons in all government and non-government records by introducing a separate column to include the third gender.
- Sensitize communities towards the challenges and needs of transgender persons.
- Create a forum for the active participation of transgender persons at all levels of governance.
- Put in place institutional mechanisms to effectively implement programmes for transgender persons.
- Determine the number of transgender persons and map their socio-economic status to design customized policy interventions. This enumeration and mapping can be carried out by the MoSJE along with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- Mandate the provision of housing and community services to accommodate at least 50 percent of transgender persons.
- Formulate and implement a scheme for establishing residential schools in all districts for transgender persons.
- Design a scheme for providing skill and employability training to transgender persons to integrate them with mainstream society.
- Launch a centrally sponsored scheme to provide pensions to transgender persons above 60 years.
- Ensure Aadhaar and Direct Benefit Transfer-based implementation and monitoring of social security programmes.
- Consider creating a fund at the national level for supporting states that have mapped out the needs of and designed the necessary policy interventions for various vulnerable sections of society including persons with disabilities, senior citizens and transgender persons in line with the relevant legislation.