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New Delhi
August 21, 2019
Observer Dawn
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BOOSTING ECONOMY TO BRIDGING DIVIDE : TASKS FOR MODI 2.0

Narendra Modi has been chosen as the Prime Minister of India for the second time. BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) shone out as a preferred choice of citizens. The new government of Asia’s third-largest economy is all set, and it is time for Modi to shift gears and concentrate on vital issues that need serious consideration.

Modi’s first duty is to unite the country. He has to confront many rifts- between political parties, communities, and geographical regions. He must reach out to the opposition and construct a cooperative relationship with them.

Another task would be to choose the cabinet. Cabinet ministers should be picked based on talent and not purely on political considerations. Having a set of ministers who know their fields well will add up to the caliber of the government and help Modi avoid slip-ups. Ministers should perceive that while they will be answerable to the PM, they need not look at the PMO for every decision.

There is a rising accord among policy-makers and economists that the country’s economy is facing a deceleration in consumer demand both in urban and rural areas and slow exports growth amid global trade wars. The immediate factors responsible for the slowdown of the economy include declining growth of private consumption, an increase in fixed investment, and subdued exports. Modi needs to direct his attention on this issue.

GDP growth could be revived by the resolution of the corruption that exists in the debt capital markets following evasion by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) group. Ensuring liquidity for Non-Banking Financial Corporations (NBFCs) should be the primary concern for the new government. The budget is likely to be presented in early July and could possibly slash personal taxes to make more money available to the middle class, thus influence people to spend more and drive up demand. Irresolute consumption growth and a reduction in sales and volume growth for FMCG companies will be a remarkable task for the new government. In the wake of election results, FMCG majors have faith that consumer demand would witness a revival.

The government seeks to promote the Make in India manufacturing initiative as well as the development of industrial infrastructure. Other measures could include a big thrust to public investment in infrastructure. It should also focus on stimulating consumer demand through job creation in sectors like construction that are major job creators. The real estate sector is also one of the highest employment generators. Those jobs will guide the way to income, which, on the other hand, will increase consumption in the economy and will set industries like consumer durables in motion. The government will also have to deal with the consolidating global crude oil prices. Nothing is more vital than the country’s economy, and Modi must devote all his energy and put the best minds at the task.

Additionally, there are many decisions to be taken about foreign policy. Modi will have to make his mind as to what he wishes to do with the Pakistan issue. The Kashmir situation continues to be harsh. There is a political void in the state, and evidently, the Governor cannot run it forever. The state needs a politically authentic government. Modi has to fight terrorism, triumph hearts and minds, value the Kashmiri political voice, and secure peace and safety in the valley – all concurrently.

Very few Prime Ministers have enjoyed the degree of fame that Narendra Modi has. Modi and NDA government should utilize this and pay back the debt owed to the Indian people.

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