Call it whatever you want but India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a reason to be happy. Defying doomsayers the pace at which we are going about our development agenda has some showing on the ground now, then ever before. Of course there are many things to be done. The World Bank’s annual report ‘Doing Business’ 2019 has placed India at 77th spot, leapfrogging over 23 among 190 nations. The report said that India has improved on six of the 10 parameters related to starting and doing business in a country. Among the parameters are construction permits, getting power connection, getting credit, paying taxes, trade across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. When the BJP-led NDA came to power India was at 142nd spot among 190 nations. It was 100 in 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi coming under heavy attack on his foreign trips, his policies, his statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and fighter jets, this comes as a much needed boost on his arm. It was 25 years ago in 1991 that India being shoved by TINA factor (there is no alternative) that India went for economic reforms that the dispensation pursued was halfhearted. The jump in India’s ranking has never been so fast within a single dispensation although the economic liberalisation was initiated more than two decades back.
The growth came about with emphasis on other factors needed for a sustained, equitable growth. Therefore the reforms carried out has had no effect on the ranking of India on ease of doing business. India needs to carry out the economic liberalisation to its completion. So far so good, but now India needs to focus seriously on developing its infrastructure, social welfare and above all on agriculture. Economic development need port, air and water, road and rail communication to facilitate mobility of goods and services both within the country and abroad, create jobs that should focus harnessing an employee’s skill and not only based on his or her educational qualification, social security and benefits for the poor. New Delhi should be more serious about implementing Digital India. It should not only remain a slogan, technology should percolate down at the grassroots level granting accessibility to the poorest of the poor that will cost them just only a few rupees for daily life.
The war on corruption is also not very much over. There are many forms of corruption than those indulged into by government officials and politicians. Just as the need to remain clean has been made into a government programme of Swachh Bharat, we need a programme to remain corruption free even among the citizens by making them aware about paying one’s dues to the government, following rules and prevent wasting resources like food and power. So far, the farmers have been in a sorry state in India’s story and that should change. It is easier getting a loan to buy a car that will depreciate on the moment it is bought than asking for a loan by a farmer to buy a tractor to plow his land from a bank in India and the government should change that. The agriculture in India needs credit and not the measly amount of a few thousand rupees.