Voicing concern over the state of the Indian economy, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has unveiled a 10-point agenda for its revival, including fast-tracking the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and easing FDI regulations in aviation and other sectors.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday after CII’s national council meeting here, CII President, Adi B.Godrej, said the GDP growth rate of 5.37 percent registered in the last quarter was lowest in nine years and was a matter of concern. Low economic growth would affect job creation, inclusive growth and social upliftment.
He said the most important reform to improve GDP growth was early introduction of GST, which would be the biggest stimulus. The other steps needed to be taken by the Government and the RBI include a strong monetary stimulus, correcting the current account deficit by encouraging exports and containing imports, arresting rupee slide, reducing subsidies, implementing financial sector reforms and removing bottlenecks in infrastructure growth.
On monetary policy, Mr. Godrej said “we need further reduction in both repo rates and CRR. This is the right time to create monetary stimulus to revive economy”. Unlike Europe, the situation was not beyond control and there was a need to control fiscal deficit and subsidies. If the subsidies were maintained within two per cent of the GDP, the fiscal deficit would be contained and the economy would be benefitted.
On many of these policies to be implemented quickly, there was a need for greater cooperation amongst the Centre, Opposition, State Governments and the industry.
Mr. Godrej said the CII believed that Indian economy was capable of higher growth rate and it was possible to achieve nine per cent in 2013-14. ‘Our objectives is 7.5 per cent growth rate this year”, he added.
The 10-point CII economic revival package suggests reducing Repo rate and CRR, allowing accelerated depreciation for investments in plant and machinery at 25 per cent with immediate effect, increasing FDI limits in civil aviation and defence, allowing FDI in multi-brand retail and providing interest subvention of two per cent on export credit for a temporary period of six months.
Other suggestions are creating an export development fund, clearing 50 large projects in the next 30 days in consultation with State Governments and relevant ministries, announcing a clear plan for fiscal consolidation and 25 per cent weighted tax deduction on expenditure incurred by companies “going green”.
CII president-designate S. Gopalakrishnan said the CII ASCON survey for April-June 2012, representing more than 35,000 companies in 114 sectors, paints a grim picture of the economy. Perception might be worse than reality, but the current negative sentiment would only make matters worse. Positive action might change the sentiment to positive.