26 Feb 2016 20:25 IST

Government has to allocate resources meaningfully

While initiatives like Make in India should be sustained, needs of farmers cannot be ignored

India, with its huge market and great potential, holds a very important place in the world economy. Which is why Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget will be of significance, not just to the nation’s economy but to other entities as well.

The to-do list

The Make in India push is critical for employment in the country. Building an export-oriented nation, shifting away from primary products to high quality manufacturing goods, would allow us to compete globally, improving our trade deficit situation.

However, for it to work, building infrastructure, in the form of dedicated corridors, cold storage facilities, and faster logistics resources, should be on top of the to-do list, so that Make in India is able to leverage its full potential.

Improving the ease of doing business should also be an important agenda for the government, to attract investment.

More than being inclined towards populist policies or subsidies, there should be a push to improve delivery mechanisms for these schemes. The agricultural sector needs to be modernised, and the Budget should work towards building fixed price mechanisms, which the farmers have been demanding since a long time.

Reducing the widening fiscal deficit should be a primary concern. As it is, meeting the recommendations of the new Pay Commission will be a huge challenge. The government has a tough job in allocating the resources.

What is needed

Education, health and social welfare are crucial for the overall prosperity of the common man, but there is hardly any lobby to address the financial requirements of these sections. Funding should be generous for curriculum modernisation, pedagogical innovations, and examination reforms.

Today, skills beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic (the 3Rs) are needed — in fact, the 4 Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity) are an important requirement today.

We have moved in the right direction by encouraging start-ups and this emphasis should be maintained in the Budget too. Funding and ease of setting up are important, but so is guiding the growth of fledgling enterprises, which should be of utmost concern, given their low success rates.

While some new initiatives aimed at debt restructuring are a good push forward, we must ensure that the plight of farmers collapsing under the burden of mounting debts is not forgotten.