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Think Different, Do Differently

Think Different, Do Differently

Modi 3.0 may have to extricate itself from incremental expansion of on-going projects, if it were to lead Bharat to exalted developed nation status


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to form a government for record third term in a row with comfortable majority after a tumultuous eight-week long Lok Sabha elections campaign.

While Modi 3.0 begins mid-June, there’s huge interest globally on the agenda for the new government. There’s already some spadework done by the present regime on what would perhaps be rolled out in first 100-days of freshly minted National Democratic Alliance government.

Once the new government takes charge with a reconstituted team under Prime Minister Modi, political stability at centre and 20-odd states ruled by BJP or its coalition partners is assured.  Unlike several countries that are in the midst of wars, conflicts or political instability, Bharat would stand out as a nation of 1.4 billion people to emerge as the global economic powerhouse and a beacon of hope for global communities.

The eight per cent plus growth coupled with stable interest rates and reined-in inflation levels at 4 per cent will serve as backdrop for Bharat to emerge as third largest economy globally surpassing Germany and Japan. After US and China, Bharat will emerge as third largest economy and a hub for agricultural produce, industrial manufacturing, providing services and export cost-effective quality goods and services.

In first three years of Modi 3.0, Bharat will not only be valued as US$ five trillion economy, but would well be on way to move up market capitalisation in stocks sweepstakes. Already, both BSE and NSE have reported that market capitalization in Bharat have crossed a whopping US$ five trillion serving as a leading indicator on what’s in store for the economy.

First big task for new finance minister to occupy the corner room in North Block would be to present a full regular budget in three months along with blueprint for making Bharat a developed economy by 2047. Opposition parties, especially the Congress, may have scoffed at the idea of ‘developed nation’ tag for Bharat, but putting in place nuts and bolts to go big is something inevitable.

A commendable job done by Nirmala Sitharaman is what would come handy for Modi 3.0 while charting its course for attaining the exalted ‘vikasit bharat’ status which is both a commitment and conviction for Team Modi.

Cash surpluses of over Rs. three lakh crore, RBI dividend of Rs 2.1 lakh crore and record foreign exchange reserves of US$ 648.7 billion as on May 25 serve as positives for new government to rollout short term measures in its long journey to becoming a developed nation.

Even if interim budget expenditure projections of Rs 47.65 lakh crore and gross tax collections target of Rs 38.2 lakh crore are retained, borrowings through bonds and bills may be pruned by third edition of Modi government.

Alternatively, retaining gross borrowings at Rs 14.13 lakh crore in 2024-25 will provide enough leeway for the new government to introduce new elements to economic expansion and put it on high growth trajectory of over 10 per cent growth on continuum for three years.

A big push to capital spending to create assets across infrastructure areas at Rs 12 lakh crore may become focal point to further Modi government’s campaign to evolve New India along with new jobs, services and opportunities, cater to the aspirational youth that backed BJP-led NDA in the seven phase Lok Sabha elections that ended today.

Sticking to fiscal prudence strategy that involves reduced fresh borrowings, lower accumulation of debt and interest payments outgo coupled with serious recalibration of food, fertilizer and oil subsidies may have to continue without any let up.

On the parallel, deepening and broad-basing famed growth paradigm with focused development interventions in education, healthcare, housing, water and farm support is what the Narendra Modi government in its new avtar may have to continue.

Real challenge will be to lay firm foundation for a ‘new developed’ Bharat. Out of box thinking may propel diversified economic expansion that’s inclusive and target oriented.

For instance, can the new government think of 20 new growth centres to take Bharat’s economy to next level? What does that mean?

Say for instance, can Sandeshkhali in West Bengal’s Sunderbans area where women faced violence and sexual abuse become new growth centre for women-centric development project? Three crore ‘lakhpati’ didis scheme be housed in Sandeshkhali and spread across Bharat as women’s economic empowerment project of Bharat. Local skills, opportunities and fresh ideas from different states apart from development of eco-sensitive Sundarbans waterfront can be weaved into this signature project of Prime Minister Modi.

Comprehensive economic uplift project for tribal communities can be centred in Bastar or Narayanpur in Chattisgarh where both Left extremism and rampant religious conversion of vulnerable tribal communities happen routinely.

Can a growth centre be planned and implemented for fisheries development with coastal Kerala or Andhra Pradesh being its headquarters? Should fisheries be managed and regulated from Delhi? A fresh economic growth model around fisheries and coastal areas development can be evolved to give thrust to these areas.

If Hyderabad is developed as defence technologies and original manufacturing hub, can’t ports based economic development model be designed in Odisha?

No new project, scheme or public sector company should be allowed registration in national capital region or the metropolis. Twenty-odd new thematic growth areas can be considered to spread development projects to nook and corner of Bharat. If required, some ministries, departments, state-run companies, autonomous bodies may have to be located away from Delhi.

Modi 3.0 can even design twenty hubs with spokes and spines each for start-ups, different financial services etc as decentralized economic growth centres.

Why not relocate agriculture ministry to say Amritsar or Ludhiana without making hue and cry about it? Should comprehensive hills development project not be run out of Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh? There’s very little utility in keeping environment and forests ministry housed in Paryavaran Bhavan located at posh Jor Bagh area of New Delhi.

Global expansion of Bharat’s economic interests should be intertwined to our geo-political goals set in true spirit of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’, treating the entire international communities as part of one big family.

In essence, a big shake up in economic and development structures is what the doctor prescribes to become a developed Bharat.

(Author is Director & Chief Executive, non-partisan think-tank, Centre for Integrated and Holistic Studies based in New Delhi)Think Different, Do Differently

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