Expect major reforms under Modi 2.0, says NITI Aayog’s Rajiv Kumar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: PTI File

The second Narendra Modi government at the Centre is expected to take some big-bang economic reforms to please foreign investors, NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India) vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, said.

The reforms might include changes in labour laws, privatisation, and creation of land banks for new industrial development, Kumar said.

The official, who directly reports to Modi, said, “Reforms in India’s complicated labour laws will see the light of day as early as the next parliamentary session in July, when the government will place a new bill before the Lower House for approval. It will aim to combine 44 central laws into four codes wages, industrial relations, social security and welfare, and the fourth – occupational safety, health and working conditions.”

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These reforms would help companies escape getting embroiled in disputes. Also, these would help the enterprises avoid policy and regulatory entanglements, he said. “The government could also offer swathes of land to foreign investors from the land banks it plans to create from unutilised land controlled by public sector enterprises,” the Reuters quoted him as saying.

The government could also offer swathes of land to foreign investors from the land banks it plans to create from unutilised land controlled by public sector enterprises – Rajiv Kumar, vice chairmain, NITI Aayog

“What could be attempted is to build an inventory of government land that can then be offered to foreign investors,” he added. Kumar said the government will focus on fully privatising or closing more than 42 state-controlled companies in the coming months.

‘There will be big bang’

Country’s economic growth rate decelerated to a five-quarter low of 6.6% in the last three months of 2018, and is expected to fall further in the January-March quarter due to a sharp drop in consumption. The economy needs far faster growth if it is to generate enough jobs for the millions of young people entering the labour market each month.

Kumar blamed the stressed balance sheet of banks and a crisis in the shadow lending industry for the recent drop in growth.

Kumar suggested that, “We should (start with the banks). There will be big bang, there will be 100 days action. We are all geared for that, I have maintained that the fiscal policy should be counter cyclical. There is scope for that.”

(With inputs from Reuters)

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