The BJP, at its National Council Meeting here on Saturday, passed its economic resolution committing itself to the rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime.
“A body blow was delivered to investor confidence by the UPA government with its retrospective tax proposals and flip-flops in investment policies.... as a result Indians are now investing more outside India than the net FDI inflow,” the resolution said. This needs correction, as “the FDI announcements have not materialised and repatriation on earlier FDI is growing.”
The resolution comes a day after BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi outlined his vision of an “inclusive growth model” before a gathering of CEOs and India heads of top global corporates. Without naming the Congress, Mr. Modi had said: “People talk about inclusive growth but true inclusive growth is when an economic development model can nurture India’s Information Technology industry as a cottage industry where even housewives can contribute at least in the assembly lines of hardware products.... At least 50 per cent of India’s Gross Domestic Product should come from this sector.”
Mr. Modi also said that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram placed import curbs on gold to contain the Current Account Deficit, but that was followed by a spate of new reports on gold smuggling. He said the first priority for the government should be to incentivise and promote innovation in the electronics sector as 65 per cent of the total electronics consumed in India are imported. “Given the high demand, innovation and economies of scale should be possible,” Mr. Modi said adding that conditions should also be created to ensure there is a reverse brain drain. “The next global war is going to be a job war where China is already taking the lead in snatching jobs.... For India to reap its demographic dividend, skill development is important.”
“If you want to be a super power in today’s world it will not be determined by how many soldiers, tanks or vessels you own but by your IT security,” Mr. Modi said. “The parameters have changed and we have to equip ourselves for it.”
Present in the audience were HCL founder Ajai Chowdhry, Cisco India president Jeff White, IBM India’s Shanker Annaswamy, Lenovo India managing director Amar Babu, Dell India president and MD Alok Ohrie, Tech Mahindra executive vice-chairman Vineet Nayyar, Genpact’s non-executive vice-chairman Pramod Bhasin and Nokia India managing director P. Balaji.
‘A wasted opportunity’
Party president Rajnath Singh described 10 years of UPA rule as a “wasted opportunity”, which had seen corruption, poor economic growth, an increase in terrorism and tension along the borders, joblessness, inflation and poor state of agriculture and farmers.
Mr Singh’s focussed his keynote speech at the convention on economic growth, saying the UPA rule had seen GDP growth reduce from 8.5 per cent to under 5 per cent. “The Congress-led government has frittered away all the gains of the BJP-led government, under the effective, able and honest leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee”, he said. “The Congress Government has put the entire process of progress in reverse gear”
Mr. Singh declared: “The Indian success story is not over. It is waiting for BJP to come back to power.’’
If the BJP came to power after 2014 elections, Mr. Singh said, it promised transparent government. Promising better returns to farmers, Mr. Singh said that like in the United States, the BJP would set up farmers’ markets to allow farmers to sell their produce directly to end-consumers. He also dwelt upon the problems of youth, marginalised communities and women.