NITI agenda for new govt: Boosting pvt investment

To increase the private investment, greater access to credit for small and medium enterprises is required: NITI vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar

NITI Aayog

New Delhi: NITI Aayog is working on the economic agenda for the new government where the focus will be on achieving long term sustainable growth and boosting private investments in the country, the think tank’s Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Wednesday.

Lok Sabha election results would be announced on Thursday and the new government would be in place in the coming weeks.

In an interview to PTI, Kumar said NITI Aayog would submit an action plan to the new government.

“NITI Aayog is preparing something (economic agenda) and that will be submitted to the new government. The basic thing is that we need to take steps to increase private investments in the economy. That’s a real issue and to increase the private investment, it requires greater access to credit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” Kumar said.

According to him, the economic agenda might also pitch for extending labour subsidies to textile and leather sectors to reduce cost of production.

Cost of capital in India is quite high, which needs to be brought down, and there is also a need to create a land bank owned by public sector undertakings so that private investment can be attracted, Kumar said.

On whether he sees a case for fiscal stimulus as the economy is slowing down, Kumar said there is always a case for fiscal stimulus provided the fiscal balance is maintained.

“So there is no case at all of busting all fiscal norms. I think, we can create fiscal space through non-tax revenues being increased.

“And also including tax compliance, there is a need for expanding public capital expenditure while maintaining fiscal balance,” the eminent economist opined.

Emphasising that India can achieve double-digit growth by 2022, Kumar said a good foundation for such a trajectory has already been laid in the last five years. During this period, there has been unprecedented macro stability as well as an average annual growth of 7% growth.

“So there is also a social basis now for ramping up our growth,” he said.

Noting that the government has done enough in last five years to be now ready to take that few steps to ramp up growth to 9%, Kumar said, “I think, that by fiscal 2022, we should be able to get there (double digit growth).”

For the current fiscal ending March 2020, Kumar expects Indian economy to record a growth of around 7%.

In February, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revised downwards the growth estimate for 2018-19 fiscal from 7.2% to 7%, the lowest in five years.

According to a report released by the United Nations on Tuesday, India is projected to grow at 7% in 2019 and 7.1% in 2020.

Most exit polls have predicted a sweeping victory for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).