The Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) 100-days agenda for the new government is more or less the same as that the to-do list spelt out in the Congress party’s manifesto that it had released last week.
The CII’s 100-days agenda includes: introduction of the Goods & Sales Tax (GST), containing subsidies, fiscal consolidation, restructuring of labour laws, 150 million new jobs and fast-tracking of stalled projects.
“India can achieve GDP [Gross Domestic Product] growth rate of 8 percent provided that systemic reforms are carried out quickly by the new Government,” said Ajay S Shriram, the new CII President. He was unveiling the CII action theme for the year: Accelerating Growth, Creating Employment.
In a press conference, Mr Shriram said “Industry is looking for top policy steps such as introduction of GST, easing of interest rates by 100 bps, keeping subsidies at 1.7 per cent of GDP, and restructuring of labour laws to promote mass manufacturing.”
He also listed key priorities for CII in the coming year: education, skills, economic growth, manufacturing sector growth, investments, ease of doing business, export competitiveness, legal and regulatory architecture, labour law reforms and entrepreneurship.
The Congress Manifesto also promises to take the economy back to 8 percent-plus growth within the next three years and to be sustained over the next two decades. For greater business-friendliness, it promises to lift India's “Ease of Doing Business” ranking from the current 134 to 75 within five years.
Introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bills in Parliament is on the 100-days agenda. As is a Jobs Agenda for 10 crore new jobs that will be created over the tenure of the next government.
The Direct Tax Code and the GST are to be rolled out within a year. Also on the Manifesto is a permanent National Investment Facilitation Authority headed by the Prime Minister; a Bill for a National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring authority for “transparent” and “time-bound” appraisals and recommendations for clearances.
Further, the Manifesto promises to address the holy cows of “flexibilities” in the labour market and minimum tariff “protection” to domestic manufacturers against imports.