The Chief Economic Advisor raised a flutter last week when he remarked that no big ticket reform was possible till 2014 elections.
After the flak over his remarks to a think tank here, Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu feels India will see “some important” reforms in the next six months, including on subsidies and may be partial diesel decontrol and FDI in retail.
However, he feels the “biggest reform”, GST (Goods and Services Tax), may be tougher because “it is good and not everybody wants it to happen under the present regime”.
Mr. Basu raised a flutter on Wednesday last week, when he remarked that no big ticket reform was possible till 2014 elections. He also said there was a serious risk of another European crisis in 2014 and appropriate measures need to be taken to avert another global economic crisis.
“Among the reforms that will happen, I hope, is subsidy reform. The Finance Minister talked about this in his budget. We will try to use the UID system that we are developing to cut down leakage in subsidy,” he said.
“In India the leakage is so big that if we can cut this down, it will help cut down our fiscal deficit ... So that’s a very important reform, which I think will happen,” he said.
On FDI in multi-brand retail, he said, “you can’t be 100 per cent sure, but I feel that it’s very likely that it will happen. This can be a big boost to Indian farmers and small producers. It will also have an uplifting on investor confidence.”
The other one, which is more difficult politically, is diesel decontrol, Mr. Basu said. “May be what can happen is a partial decontrol. This is not a very well defined term. There are different kinds of partial decontrol that you can have. What we should ideally do is to have a small subsidy that is fixed per liter. This will partially shelter the consumer but will allow the rise and fall of global price to be mirrored in India. This is essential for market efficiency,” M.r Basu said.