India: Modi vows steps to take India’s growth to double-digits

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 Jun 18 vowed to accelerate India’s GDP growth to more than 10% and laid down a blueprint to make development more inclusive and correct economic imbalances.
  • The new economic growth goal follows the implementation of structural reforms such as creating a single market through the goods and services tax and a bankruptcy code to tackle bad loans.
  • Modi’s message also indicated the priority of his government in its final year in office before national polls in 2019—effective and quick implementation of all welfare schemes meant to benefit the rural population.
  • The meeting also witnessed chief ministers from some non-BJP-ruled states seeking financial support for farm loan waiver schemes and some protesting at the mandate given to the 15th Finance Commission, which they claim favour states that have failed to control population growth.
  • Modi laid out key areas of work to achieve an inclusive and fast-growing economy by 2022—doubling farmers’ income, development of backward districts, implementing the proposed health insurance scheme that seeks to give INR0.5mn annual health cover to 100 million families, immunization of children and raising nutrition levels.
  • Modi also emphasized the need to tackle economic imbalances and suggested that all parameters of human development need to be improved upon in 115 districts identified as backward.
  • The prime minister said gram swaraj abhiyan, a drive to reach out to every household to enrol potential beneficiaries of welfare schemes, has become a new model for implementing schemes.
  • This has so far been extended to 45,000 backward villages. Modi said the target is universal coverage in seven key welfare schemes—LPG connection without upfront charges, power for all households, distribution of energy efficient bulbs, financial inclusion, state-backed life insurance and accident insurance schemes and immunization of all children. He said this target was recently accomplished in about 17,000 villages.
  • In his closing remarks, Modi also called for a debate on simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state legislatures, which will lead to financial savings. Modi also urged states to make policies that attracts private investment in warehousing, transportation, value addition and food processing.

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