Transforming India, an ambitious action plan finalised after two months of brainstorming shepherded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has recommended a slew of reforms to be implemented by ministries and departments if India has to grow by 10 per cent per annum until 2032. This, according to the action plan, will totally eradicate poverty from India in the next 16 years and also create 175 million new jobs.
"Growing at 10 per cent will transform India - India will be a $10 trillion economy with no poverty in 2032," the plan states. In 2015-16, the size of the Indian economy was a little over $2 trillion and the gross domestic product growth was around 7.6 per cent. As part of first steps in this grand plan, the government has set out to implement WTO-compatible procurement norms by 2017-18, achieve 100 per cent rural electrification by May 2018, increase rural teledensity to 100 per by 2020, reach broadband connectivity through optical fibre to all gram panchayats by December 2018 and have 175 million broadband connections by 2017.
The 23-page action plan also envisages reforms in the agriculture and allied sectors, including deregulation of genetically engineered (Bt) insect-resistant pulses by 2017-18, creation of buffer stock for pulses by 2017-18 and target 15 million metric tonnes of fish production by 2020. It also plans to implement seeding of Aadhaar number in 90 per cent of ration cards by the end of FY17. PAN (Permanent Account Number) is to be made mandatory for all businesses and entities and serve as unique business identifier also by the end of FY17.
"The entire process from ideation to action took barely two months," NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said. The process was initiated with the PM holding a meeting with all the secretaries to the government in December. At the meeting, Modi called for radical thinking which could take India forward, cutting across the silos of line departments and ministries.
The PM identified eight themes and decided to constitute eight groups of secretaries to come out with recommendations and a road map for each of the themes. The objective of the action plan was to foster development but with inclusive growth and efficiency. According to a secretary, the PM was happy with the finalised action plan. He told the secretaries that no expert group could have made such recommendations because these have come from people who think the plan is doable.
However, not all agreed with the ambitious target of India achieving 10 per cent growth for the next 16 years. "While desirable, 10 per cent growth is wishful thinking when we are struggling to maintain even 7.5 per cent increase in gross domestic product per annum," a secretary, who was part of the process, said.
Kant said the recommendations by the groups of secretaries were circulated among all ministries. "Every ministry examined it and prepared an action plan based on what can be implemented. Some of these actions were announced in the budget. The remaining we have put together in sub-themes which have target dates," Kant said. NITI Aayog has been assigned the responsibility to monitor the implementation of these action plans and would be creating a dashboard for this.
The eight themes identified by the PM were - accelerated growth with inclusion and equity; employment generation strategies; universal access to quality health and education; good governance; farmer-centric Issues in agriculture and allied sectors; Swachh Bharat and Ganga Rejuvenation; energy conservation and efficiency and innovative budgeting and effective implementation.
The government plans to have proactive consultations with the states as they "have an important role in implementation of a number of these initiatives on pan-India basis."
CENTRE'S ACTION PLAN FOR TRANSFORMING INDIA
Seeding of Aadhaar number in 90% ration cards by March 2017
Increase rural teledensity to 100% by 2020
175 million broadband connections by 2017
Deregulation of genetically engineered (Bt) insect-resistant pulses by March 2018
WTO-compatible procurement norms by March 2018
Third-party scrutiny of road project execution agencies by end of 2016
VC funds for start-ups by end of 2016
- PAN mandatory for all businesses - to serve as unique business identifier by March 2017