Showing posts with label The Economic Times. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Economic Times. Show all posts

Boosting Indian R&D and patent filing (The Economic Times)

The figures reveal that nearly eight out of 10 of all patent applications filed in India over the last 13 years were made by researchers abroad. We clearly need to policy-induce innovation here, and Indian corporates must step up patenting and translational research. True, the share of Indian patenting activity has risen steadily and, as per the latest data, is now 30% of the filings. Yet, our innovation ecosystem needs much revamping. Of course, we must raise total R&D expenditure. But it is also important to rid industry of easy pickings by way of steep import protection, inflated project costs and lax regulation, to force it to make money from doing good, globally competitive business. That would compel industry to value R&D.

Research must improve at our 870-odd universities, so that pure research becomes very much a part and parcel of applied research. And the latter then can be gainfully incorporated into translational and industrial research for new products and services. India is now a global platform for research and development (R&D). Multinational corporations (MNCs) have set up over 1,165 R&D centres here. A recent Capgemini study finds that Bengaluru has displaced Tokyo as the most preferred R&D destination for MNCs, even as the local research activity is rapidly moving away from mere cost advantage to value arbitrage when it comes to cutting-edge technologies across myriad domains.

Policy must foster openness and reduce tariff barriers in a time-bound manner. The recent rationalisation of tax treatment of R&D expenditure in the budget is a move in the right direction; but India ranks poorly in the global rankings when it comes to ease of starting a business, resolving insolvency, paying taxes, pupil-teacher ratio at the secondary level, environmental performance or even access to information and communication technology. The relevant parameters for nations that rank high on R&D have been far better, for years. Hence the need for forward-looking economic and technology policies to channel funds into patenting activity and R&D. A miracle could follow.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.


What That @#$%! Nixon Can Teach Us

Much has been made of Winston Churchill’s racial contempt for Indians, whom he described as ‘a beastly people’, which would shape his policy of denying Indians emergency food supplies during the 1943 Bengal famine. But not having to bear the crooked cross of colonialism, racism in the US political leadership (beyond the systemic, historical one against African-Americans) has usually received benign desi neglect. With the latest declassified trove of White House tapes exposing his bigotry against Indians, former US President Richard Nixon posthumously hogs the Racist Leader of the Month title.

Nixon is heard describing Indians as ‘pathetic’, ‘repulsive’ and finding it a surprise ‘how they reproduce’. This is pathological racism. As with Churchill, this personal hatred would also be translated into policy. Calling Indira Gandhi a ‘bitch’ in a private conversation declassified by the US State Department in 2005 is one thing.

But was his refusal to let the US intervene in the massacre in East Pakistan in 1971 really quite another? And yet, it is more noteworthy, more ‘honest,’ for the US — the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, specifically — to (grudgingly) release more of these Nixon tapes.

It is hard to imagine the Indian establishment doing anything remotely similar that ‘exposes’ a past leader in such a light. Indians also tend to protect themselves from charges of their own racism by using the shield of racist victimhood.

Nixon’s expletives made 50 years ago won’t curdle US-India relations today. What it should do is make us aware of all that was real — and much else that is real — and make us less thin-skinned in our condemnations, whether such noxious comments come from past world leaders or present homegrown ones.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.


Prepare To Deliver The Covid Vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccine will be available sooner or later. The time to begin rolling out the logistics for its distribution and administration to about 60-70% of the population is now. An expert panel led by NITI Aayog’s Vinod Paul is on the job. It must develop a model that has complete buy-in from the states, draws on existing capacities utilised for large immunisation schemes, such as the measles-rubella vaccine administered to 405 million children and the Mission Indradhanush campaign for 90% immunisation coverage of all children. The elimination of smallpox in the 1970s and of polio recently testify to our capacity for mass vaccination.

Identification of recipients and logistics is critical.

Frontline workers in healthcare and security, persons with comorbidities and those above the age of 65 should get priority, roughly 400 million, say experts. Setting up a reliable distribution and delivery network is more complex.

Innovation is key. Such as building on the election network in which 11 million poll workers set up polling stations for 900 million voters in just about six weeks so that no person needs to travel more than two kilometres. For vaccines, temperature-controlled storage, access to syringes and needles, proper disposal of medical waste and trained personnel to administer the vaccine must be factored in. Afoolproof distribution plan is critical to ensure that all persons have access; without it, the number of doses available in country will not matter.

The Paul committee must assess the infrastructural capacity of states for vaccine delivery. The Auxiliary Nurse Midwife-Anganwadi Worker-Accredited Social Health Activist network must be supplemented, training people in each block to serve as auxiliary health workers to administer the vaccine. In developing the plan, the committee must consult widely, invite suggestions. Maintaining the cold chain for the vaccine, if the vaccine calls for it, would mean early procurement and installation of equipment.

The Centre must have oversight and control over delivery, with states implementing the plan under central guidance.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.


India’s app ban as painful acupuncture

Mao Zedong is passé in China today, but some of his aphorisms still ring true. To be attacked by the enemy is a good thing, he said, because it means that you are doing something to hurt him.

At a press briefing, the spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry criticised India’s decision to ban 200-odd Chinese apps, and linked the ban with US urging of similar action by other countries.

She proceeded to lecture India on observing the principles of a market economy, and the wrongheadedness of harming the interests of Indian citizens as well as Chinese businesses, and reminded India of its ancient association with China, the value of Independence and steering clear of US guile.

She even quoted Tagore and threw in the popularity in China of the Hindi movie Dangal for good measure. But not for once did she mention the border tensions.

What this means is that India must persist with its low-level economic action against China, and use not just access to India’s market but also the example that Indian action vis-à-vis China could set for other countries, to put pressure on China.

This is not to say that India should rule out use of reciprocal military action in case of Chinese transgression of India’s territorial sovereignty.

But that is not the only means of responding to Chinese tactics. Beijing is capable of adopting varied pressure tactics and making Chinese businesses hurt is one way of making China’s leaders understand that these would not subdue India into meek acceptance of China’s unilateral strong-arm measures across the Line of Actual Control (LoAC).

China should abandon its policy of not settling the LoAC, even refusing to exchange maps to delineate on the ground the perceptions of both countries, which would constitute the basis for negotiated settlement of the border.

New Delhi must raise in appropriate fora Pakistan’s deafening silence on China’s religious persecution of its Uighur minority in Xinjiang — praying five times a day or growing a beard is considered dangerous signs of Islamic radicalism. It would send the right signal to both China and Pakistan.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.


The RBI — Physician, Heal Thyself

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its annual report, has rightly emphasised the role of public investment in infrastructure in reviving growth and crowding in private investment. It has also suggested some methods to finance such investment. One is foreign direct investment (FDI). It suggests Railways as an ideal candidate.

Why foreigners would want to invest in a loss-making enterprise is a question that is neither asked nor answered. The Railways should hive off suburban transport as a separate entity with a series of joint ventures with the state governments and municipal corporations governing the towns where suburban trains operate and receive massive amounts of subsidy. The rest of the Railways could then be structured to operate efficient cargo and passenger services. Then, perhaps, rail could qualify for FDI.

Privatisation of ports under an independent regulator is another mechanism suggested to raise resources for investment in infrastructure. Monetisation of assets in steel, power, coal and land is also advocated.

Such measures would make sense, except for their effect of channelling available private capital into transfer of existing assets than into creation of fresh assets. Fresh asset creation is what an economy in a slump requires.

The government should borrow and spend on infrastructure, and, on a vastly more expansive scale, channel foreign capital desperately seeking higher returns than what bond markets in the developed world offer into fully articulated projects from the infrastructure pipeline identified by the NITI Aayog. The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund must raise its game in this regard. RBI also suggests developing the debt market.

Further, ‘(t)here is also a need for expanded footprints for specialised NBFCs classified as Infrastructure Finance Companies’. Presumably, these IFCs would raise funds from the bond market and lend to infrastructure projects. Why should the bond markets not directly fund the infrastructure projects? In any case, India needs a functional bond market.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.


To boost growth, build resilience

The monsoon brings not just welcome rain, but also floods, avoidable ones in towns and unmanaged ones wreaking havoc elsewhere. The loss of life, livelihoods and property presents an economic drain on the system and tightens the stranglehold of poverty. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated and complicated the situation. This is a cost that a developing country such as India can ill afford. As we focus on reviving the economy, the focus must be on investing in building resilient infrastructure.

Building better must be the cornerstone of this effort. This will require planning and putting in place infrastructure that is resilient and adaptive to changes in the climate that have already taken place. It will also require taking measures that can minimise the adverse impact of these climatic changes.

For instance, the intensity of rainfall has increased due to climate change, making flooding a regular occurrence. What is required are efforts that will minimise the possibility of floods — the solutions will vary from afforestation efforts, reviving wetlands, building infrastructure that can withstand these changes, and so on. It is critical to ensure that local circumstances and science are taken on board while identifying solutions. Any effort to build resilient infrastructure must involve planners, scientists, experts and every level of government, besides popular involvement, must be part of this exercise. At the same time, it is critical to ensure the implementation of rules and regulations, as well as ensuring that the infrastructure, particularly in urban areas, is maintained properly.

As India works to revive its economy, building resilient infrastructure can be an important avenue for investment and growth, to break the annual cycle of loss of life and property.
Courtesy - The Economic Times.

India’s labour laws call for reform

The government assured parliament’s standing committee on labour that state-level changes in labour laws that diluted labour welfare would be struck down. At the same time, India’s labour laws are antiquated — some mandate water being made available in earthen pots — besides being too numerous, making compliance a burden.

Laws need to change, to make the labour market flexible, remove artificial bias towards capital-intensity and, at the same time, retain attraction for global brands that are ever more mindful of investor and consumer preference for ESG-compliance. ESG stands, of course, for Environmental, Social and Governance concerns.

In the US, investment that specifically targets ESG compliance has been shooting up — it grew 38% from 2016 to $12 trillion in 2017, out of a total assets under management of $46 trillion, and the share of ESG has only been rising since. Business Roundtable, comprising the top CEOs of America, declared a formal shift from treating shareholders as the primary beneficiary of corporate achievement to all stakeholders, and has, in the wake of the anti-racism protests, endorsed police reform. Business responds, of course, to the concerns of shareholders, consumers and employees. These concerns are pushing climate change, labour norms, corporate governance and the positive impact companies can play in social life to the top of corporate concerns. This sets the mood for allocation of funds in much of the developed world. India would shoot itself in the foot if, at this juncture, it seeks to attract investment into supply chains moving out of China by offering suppression of labour rights as the chief attraction. The trick is to build flexibility into labour markets while upholding labour norms that enable decent work.

Japan and South Korea have grown into manufacturing powerhouses on par with Germany and France, and all have workforces that are heavily unionised. Their employers and unions have learnt to collaborate in using unions to raise productivity and cushion the harshness of bad times. They offer lessons for India’s labour reforms.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.

Welcome easing of tensions with China : The Economic Times Editorial

The process of disengagement that has started at the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) is welcome. What India needs is not a return to the status quo before June 15, but a more active, persistent campaign to pressure China to abandon its expansionist claims on neighbours’ territory and to settle its border with India. After decades of cautious engagement with China, driven partly by India’s 1962 defeat and partly by the belief that India and China could be partners in essaying the Asian Century, India has begun to script a different approach. This includes stepping up the building and upgrading of infrastructure in border areas, turning down participation in the Beijing’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and passive membership of the trade agreement, RCEP.

New Delhi appears to be finally evolving a China policy that acknowledges Beijing’s expansionist and mercantilist tendencies and that India shares with China a long border that is yet to be settled. This requires India to continue to keep up its efforts vis-à-vis China on all three fronts — military, diplomatic and economic. China may have taken a step back for now, but it does not mean it has given up on its efforts. Eternal vigilance on the borders, not just at the LoAC, is the way forward for India. At the same time, New Delhi must proactively work with partners, those in the neighbourhood, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh, and the global ones, the US, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam among others, to resist China’s expansionist aims, particularly in the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific. India must also strengthen its partnership with France, Germany, UK and the EU, including to promote development in Africa.

Finally, India must focus on building its economic profile not only for building its own resilience but for providing alternatives as the world seeks to diversify supply chains. India must also focus and invest in innovation, entrepreneurship and providing high-end solutions across the spectrum. China must learn to compete while respecting peaceful coexistence.
Ccourtesy - The Economic Times.

Covid-19 vaccines: Getting it right more salient than fast : The Economic Times Editorial

The World Health Organisation says that at least one of the nearly 150 Covid-19 vaccines being tested around the world should be ready by 2021. Producing a safe and efficacious vaccine, rather than trying to beat myopic deadlines, should be the goal for India and countries across the world that are currently engaged in research and testing of a vaccine for the virus. Science must guide the speed of vaccine research and trials must be conducted with rigour and credible transparency. Faster clearances for initiating trials (read: cutting red tape) is welcome, but giving short shrift to testing protocols or fudging outcomes will have dangerous consequences.

If any agency in India succeeds in making a good and effective vaccine, its image and India’s will get a boost globally. The converse would happen if it produces a bad vaccine that compromises safety. Reportedly, around 21 vaccine candidates are in human trials, including one developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca that is at the most advanced stage — with Phase II/III trials in England and Phase III trials in Brazil and South Africa. Recently, Indian vaccine-maker Zydus Cadila obtained approval to start human trials of a DNA-based vaccine, becoming the second company in India to join the race after Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech that is collaborating with the ICMR to develop a vaccine.

The ICMR should avoid any future controversies over setting arbitrary deadlines for launch of the vaccine. India has enough domestic patients for full-fledged tests. This is vital in the advanced efficacy trials (Phase III trials) when the vaccine is given to thousands of people to see how many get infected compared with the volunteers who received a placebo. Getting it right is more important than getting it fast.
Ccourtesy - The Economic Times.

Give GST Council institutional strength : The Economic Times Editorial

Three years after the transition to the goods and services tax (GST), there is a strong case to strengthen the GST Council for the constitutional body to take informed decisions to reform the tax structure, rates and broaden the tax base. A policy paper by the Pune International Centre, The GST Compensation Cess: Problems & Solution, by V Bhaskar and Vijay Kelkar recommends the creation of an independent GST Council Secretariat to offer professional advice on tax matters. It also essentially calls upon the Centre to borrow more to deliver on its promise to compensate the states for five years from 2017-18 for any shortfall in GST collections in relation to the past trend, notwithstanding the fiscal pressures faced by it due to the corona pandemic. Both suggestions make eminent sense.

The council needs neutral, unbiased advice from top-notch professionals in the field. The finance ministry’s budget-making wing on indirect taxes, called the Tax Research Unit, should be brought under the GST Council. Rightly, roping in competent tax-research officers from states, and having a taxation expert of national stature as the Secretary General (currently steered by the Revenue Secretary) will help strengthen the council’s secretariat. GST subsumed 17 central and state taxes and 23 cesses. It creates multiple audit trails on the income and production chain — throwing up voluminous data. Big-data analytics must be deployed to follow these trails to tax potential. The transaction chain of key raw materials such as metals and petrochemicals must be followed up to unearth the value added escaping tax at the moment.

The council should move towards the overall direction to lower and converge rates and prune exemptions that break the GST chain and clutter the tax system. This will minimise classification disputes and make compliance easy. Rate changes should be based on rigorous data analysis. The council must not delay the inclusion of petroleum products, real estate and electricity duty in the GST framework, to widen the tax base, and probably double its current size.
Courtrsy - The Economic Times.

Welcome changes to stamp duty rates : The Economic Times Editorial

It is welcome that the Centre has rationalised and standardised stamp duty rates on securities market transactions from July 1, and streamlined the collection mechanism. Shares, mutual fund purchases and debt instruments generally would attract a stamp duty of 0.005%, and for transfer of security it would be 0.015%. Stamp duty and registration fees yield sizeable revenue for states, about 0.7% of GDP annually. But till last month, we had multiple stamp duty rates across states for the same instruments, leading to routine jurisdictional disputes and multiple incidences of duty. That meant high transaction costs in the securities market that simply hurt capital formation.

The Finance Act of 2019 did amend the Indian Stamp Act, 1899; its implementation was delayed by Covid-19. Earlier, stamp duty was payable by both seller and buyer. In the new system, it is levied only on one side, payable either by the seller or the buyer, save for certain instruments of exchange where stamp duty would be borne by both parties in equal proportion. The rules require that stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories collect the stamp duty and pass it ‘within three weeks of the end of each month’ to the concerned state where the residence of the buyer of the security is located. Surely, with digital transactions, the funds transfer can be far quicker so as to boost revenue productivity.

Notably, no stamp duty is chargeable on transactions of stock exchanges and depositories setup in onshore IFCs like GIFT City. The rationalisation means much lower stamp duty rates for interest-rate, currency derivative instruments and also for repo, or repurchase, obligation in corporate bonds. The continuing incongruity of taxation of securities transactions needs addressing.
Courtrsy - The Economic Times.

Rogue police harm economy, as well :The Economic Times Editorial

The custodial deaths of a father and son in Tamil Nadu serve as a cruel reminder of the urgent need for police reforms. There is no excuse for custodial deaths and torture, abrogation of basic legal rights and ill treatment of those arrested.

The policemen involved should be charged with murder and tried. But the solution must go beyond punishment of policemen culpable of and complicit in these crimes, it needs to be systemic overhaul of the police.

A police force that acts in an extra-legal fashion and poses a threat to the life and security of citizens is a threat not just to democracy and the rule of law but also to doing business with certainty. The Indian police system is governed by a law enacted in 1860 and multiple commissions since 1971 have recommended useful reforms — few of which have been acted on.

Even the 2006 Supreme Court judgment on certain aspects of police reforms remains un-implemented. There is no excuse for policemen exceeding their brief or using brute physical force to such an extent that it results in the death of civilians. But there is little in the police system that provides safeguards against the dehumanisation of either civilians or the police.

The deficiencies in the system when exacerbated result in terrible outcomes. The biggest problem that plagues the police system is political interference. Policing is a state subject, and the power that politicians wield over transfers and postings is immense, creating an incentive system that rewards policemen who fall in line with the demands of the political masters.

This opens up the door for the corruption that appears to characterise the police rank and file. Shortage of manpower particularly at the level of constable and subinspector is immense — India has about half the UN-recommended police-to-population ratio of 222 per lakh.

Long working hours and less time off due to shortages and deployment in policing assignments coupled with low salaries, poor living conditions and a command system that encourages corruption result in dehumanising of the police force itself. Things must change.
Courtesy - The Economic Times.

Penalise violation of order to wear mask :The Economic Times Editorial

Wearing a mask when outside the home helps curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Prime Minister has urged all citizens to wear a mask or cover their face. Several state governments have made not wearing a mask an offence that would attract fines and even imprisonment.

Yet, many people can be observed moving around unmasked with aplomb. They are endangering public safety and security, and must be penalised. The police should act, not by beating them up but by collecting a fine from them as they do when they catch drivers committing traffic offences or driving around without the mandatory insurance policy or driving licence.

Wearing an ordinary cloth mask does not filter out the virus completely. But it does reduce the force with which air and water droplets carrying the virus are expelled from a person’s mouth and nose when he or she coughs, sneezes or speaks loudly.

In other words, wearing a mask protects not so much the wearer as those with whom they come into contact. It is possible that the person coughing/sneezing/shouting is unaware that they carry the virus within them —as would happen if they are asymptomatic — and would be spreading the disease caused by the virus when they flout the rule asking them to wear a mask in public.

Ignorance of the spreader does not make the virus that is spread any less potent. Typhoid Mary was not aware, for the longest time, that she was an asymptomatic carrier of the disease.

When her role was discovered, she was ordered to stop working as a cook. She flouted the order and was put away in quarantine on an island for life. In modern India, a fine might be more apt than a life sentence in isolation.

But people must be made to realise the gravity of behaviour that helps spread Covid-19. Citizen groups and the police must act.
Courtesy - The Economic Times.

Liberating Coal From Its Seams and Scams

In a move that will put an end to the absurdity of India, with the world’s fourth-largest reserves of coal, importing billions worth of the stuff and domestic economic agents in desperate need of coal bending rules to lay their hands on captive mines, the government has finally opened up the country’s coal mines to commercial mining, without restrictions on end-use, exports, trading, beneficiation or other value addition.

Thermal coal has been in short supply, on account of an inefficient State monopoly that cannot mine the stuff fast enough, and missing transport infrastructure for opening up mines in remote areas. The Railways’ cooperation is being sought to amend the logistical deficit. Another hurdle in the path of mining coal has been environmental clearance, which tosses around between the Centre and the states for months that could stretch into years, before it finally lands in the lap of the would-be miner. That, too, has been streamlined. Coal India and its unions should welcome these reforms, in the national interest, and compete with newcomers. A few more reforms are in order. Environmental clearance should be for a mine and a mining plan, and that should survive any change in ownership, so that a new buyer is not required to chase clearances all over again.

A greater proportion of coal should be beneficiated before shipping, preferably using dry techniques, and domestic R&D must be stepped up in gasifying coal. The path to a low-carbon economy can be paved with coal itself. The green cess on coal should be utilised for these measures that would reduce climate-unfriendly emissions, at least after the desperate scrounging for resources with which to compensate states for GST shortfalls is over. The use of coal cess for GST compensation should be temporary.

Rights: Apex court’s welcome clarity

For a liberal democracy in 2019-20, indefinitely suspending internet access in a region it considers to be an integral part of its own sovereign territory is not great advertisement for either ‘liberal democracy’ or governance. The Supreme Court’s verdict on Friday that internet services are a part of Article 19 of the Constitution — providing ‘basic freedoms’ that include the freedom of expression and the freedom to carry on any business — calls a spade a spade. It has demanded that internet services be restored in Kashmir for all essential services, and that all orders for the general suspension of internet services and implementation of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which bans assembly of four or more people in an area, be reviewed within a week. This is both welcome and comforting.

If the aim of the withdrawal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, welcomed by this paper, was to ‘mainstream’ the state, not only has the internet shutdown since August 4, 2019, belied the goal, but also let such sledgehammer methods to be considered ‘normal’. True, public safety and ‘emergency’ can be legitimate reasons for restrictions on Article 19 freedoms, even if these are ill-defined. Specific reasons must be cited for such extraordinary measures, to allow them to be put to judicial review. Representatives of GoI have continued to explain away such a shutdown with the rationale of maintaining law and order. In October last year, Union minister Jitendra Singh even went to the extent to say that those opposing the indefinite curb on the internet in Kashmir either “have a vested interest in the continuance of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir” or want to “play politics at the cost of India’s sovereignty and the common man’s safety”. Should these motives apply to the Supreme Court, as well?

‘Reasonableness of Section 144 orders must be assessed based on territorial reach, nature of restrictions and time period,’ the Bench said on Friday. And it is the lack of ‘reasonableness’, in the name of ‘control’, that the court has questioned. Reasonableness demands to be restored. The court has performed its constitutional role.

What should be focus of next Budget? (The Economic Times)

As Budget-making for 2021-22 gets underway, it is useful to think what the principal focus of the Budget should be. Former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian thinks it would be a bad idea to either lower income-tax rates or raise goods and services tax (GST) rates. He also thought there was no scope for an expansionary fiscal policy. We are in total agreement on GST rates. We do believe income-tax rates could come down, in the sense of the present rates kicking in at much higher thresholds of income. But not right now. The corporate tax-rate cuts have to work their way through the system for revenue to stabilise. Right now, the effort should be to augment revenue, not to lower it through income-tax cuts.

However, we do believe there is scope for expansionary fiscal policy. The first step is to come clean on the actual fiscal deficit. Pay off all the dues on account of fertiliser subsidy and delayed payments of food subsidy to the Food Corporation of India. Separate the Railways and the National Highways Authority of India from the Budget, and get their borrowings and repayments off the Consolidated Fund of India. Then only can we have a clear idea about how much the Centre borrows. This figure can certainly go to 4% of GDP in a year when counter-cyclical fiscal action is required. At a time when the private sector is reluctant to invest, resulting in excess of private savings over planned private investment, the government borrowing some of that excess saving for its own investment only serves to crowd in additional private investment, not to generate excess demand.

And what should the government do with its additional fiscal ammunition? Some ongoing rural development schemes can, and should, be expanded. But the biggest bang for the buck would come from expanding the scale and scope of the real estate Alternate Investment Fund the government has already set up, and utilising it to buy out and complete stalled projects, while also speeding up ongoing rail, road and gas pipeline works. Paying the state governments their GST dues in full would help them step up their spending, as well.

Courtesy - The Economic Times.
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