Voices of Youth: What Does India Need to Get Back to a High Growth Trajectory?

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ImageIndia today is the fourth largest economy in the world. But for the country to sustain a growth rate of close to 6%, it remains vulnerable to the vicissitudes of global investors. It’s time to ponder: why it is not the other way round? How can India reach a position where we not only follow the rise and fall of global economic forces but also lead the way in sustaining the global economy? This is my dream.

Improving Ongoing Flagship Programs:
-The monitoring of all flagship projects should be improved right from the Gram Panchayat level to the state and central level.
-Models need to be developed for every flagship program, success factors studied, and implementation aligned with the specific needs of each state.
-All program implementation officers should be trained by those who have worked in successful programs. Pay should be linked with performance.
-Resource reallocation should depend on progress and work load.
-All unsuccessful programs should be analyzed to understand the main causes for failure and alternatives planned.
-Benchmark studies should be conducted to identify critical indicators for development in education, health and infrastructure and year on year progress checked.

Investing in infrastructure:
Let’s make private participation with the government on infrastructure projects a norm for domestic companies earning above a certain revenue margin for 3 consecutive years. This will enforce faster infrastructure development. Many a time invitations for PPP go in vain if private owners do not find the projects commercially viable. To reduce their reluctance to invest in the not-so lucrative projects, setting a norm for responsible corporate behavior will make a difference. This is already the practice in some states.

Improving purchasing power:
Increased purchasing power is an important growth trigger. A need analysis by task force deployed by Government will help in understanding the market potential of various products and services. A report published to that effect can help in understanding which all sectors needs thrust on Annual Business Plan*.

Note: Annual Business Plan - disintegrated from 5 year plan can help in tracking growth in short term. The Union budget can be aligned with it, extending benefit to the industries targeted high by the annual demand analysis report.

Utilization of North East Frontier:
Our North East frontier needs massive investment in infrastructure. Sops can be provided to private investors for setting up facilities in this region. A start can be made by transferring native employees back to their home towns, followed by skill development initiatives and local hiring.

Focusing on Core Competence:
Today all our traditional products and services need extensive branding and packaging. Eastern India requires a textile hub like Tirupur to spread the benefit to states like Orissa, Bengal, and Assam. Weavers in interior villages need support of technology to go beyond local markets. Our floriculture and handicrafts need to be marketed well. The number of cold storage facilities need to be increased, with their locations determined in keeping with transportation costs.

Growth through Tourism:
We earn close to 5% of our GDP through tourism whereas the figure stands at 8.7% for the US. Improved communications and roadways, followed by good branding, will change these statistics. Government can initiate international conferences and meets at places other than Delhi and also facilitate the corporate sector in conducting more training sessions and international conferences in the less well-known destinations that have potential for tourism.

Eco Tourism:
India has the world’s largest mangrove forest in the Sunderbans, 22 wetlands of international importance, as well as the world’s largest salt desert in the Great Rann of Kutch to mention a few. Eco tourism concepts like home stays in remote tribal areas can improve earning potential exponentially. Models developed by Costa Rica or in the wetlands and grass lands of Australia can be adjusted to suit our our geography and culture.

In India policy reforms need to be partnered with an analysis of demand, with a focus on infrastructure, engaging our people creatively, and generating more employment. These will in turn lead to more purchasing power and higher investment, and hence higher growth.

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