Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has outlined a 10-point vision for the council of ministers to follow, offering the a glimpse into his policy priorities, which include energising the economy, kick-starting infrastructure projects and reviving confidence in the bureaucracy.
Besides, the PM, in a Cabinet meeting, asked his ministers to prepare a 100-day agenda — a list of projects and programmes that could be rolled out in the short term. This was the second Cabinet meeting of the Modi government within four days of taking over.
After the Cabinet meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu confirmed that Modi had issued directives (10-point vision) to the ministers. Also, “he asked the ministers to set a timetable for the first 100 days.”
Till late evening, there was no official announcement on what constituted the 10-point vision. But, it is learnt that steering the economy out of morass, placing increased focus on infrastructure, lifting the bureaucracy from a state of policy paralysis and achieving transparency through online auction and tendering are among the steps drawn up in the 10-point plan. Details of how exactly the government planned to execute the vision were not known immediately.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto had listed many of these as priority areas, the PM is being seen as “walking the talk” by giving out a policy vision soon after taking charge.
On the economy, the PM wants concerns to be addressed quickly, sources said. He has also told his ministers to bring in reforms in both investments as well as infrastructure areas. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced on the first day itself that the government would aim to strike a balance between boosting economic growth (stuck at five per cent for the past few quarters) and containing inflation (at nine per cent in April). Signalling reform, Jaitley, holding additional charge of defence, has spelt out the government’s mind on increasing the FDI cap in defence beyond 26 per cent. In yet another measure to help investors, Telecom, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had made right noises by speaking out against retrospective taxation, something that has been hurting foreign companies such as Vodafone.
Economists are looking at the PM’s 10-point vision as a sign of things to come, especially in the upcoming Budget. Madan Sabnavis, chief economist of CARE Ratings, said, “A hint that we are getting is that the capital expenditure would be given a boost in the Budget. Almost Rs 1,00,000 crore of capital expenditure was pegged last year, but only around Rs 50,000 crore was spent.”
To improve the investment climate, implementation of projects (that were stuck) should be expedited and monitored, he said. In sync with industry demand, the PM is believed to have said that policy implementation should be in a time-bound manner.
On promoting e-auction in procurement of goods and services, a point in Modi’s vision statement, industry officials and experts applauded the step. “It’s a very good idea which will introduce transparency and might require from retooling in the functioning of the government,” said Rajat Kathuria, director and chief executive at the New Delhi based think-tank Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.
Among other points that the government is expected to work around include generating fresh and innovative ideas across ministries, changing the impression about bureaucracy, and bringing education, health, water, energy and roads to the centrestage.
THE ECONOMIC COMMANDMENTS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given his Council of Ministers a 10-point road map to steer the economy out of a slumber, place an increased focus on infra and revive the overall confidence in bureaucracy. BJP’s manifesto had listed many of these as priority areas. A look at his agenda:
1) Reforms in infrastructure and investment areas
2) Addressing concerns relating to the economy
3) Promoting e-auction to push transparency
4) Reviving confidence in bureaucracy
5) Focusing on innovative ideas in the government and work freedom for officials
6) Bringing a people-oriented system in government machinery
7) Health, water, education, roads, energy priority areas
8) Sorting inter-ministerial issues through efficient system
9) Bringing stability and sustainability in govt policy
10) Executing policies in a time-bound manner