New Delhi, September 12: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while speaking to a leading Hindi daily, presented a five-point remedy to tackle the "extremely serious" economic slowdown which has hit the nation. The Congress veteran appealed the Narendra Modi government to pay heed to constructive criticism and look beyond what he described as "headline management". Shiv Sena Backs Manmohan Singh's Criticism on Indian Economy, Asks Narendra Modi Govt to Consider Advice.
The measures suggested by Singh focus on revising the Goods & Services Tax (GST) mechanism, making it more "logical and simple". A simplified tax rate would boost compliance and allow manufacturers, as well traders, to operate in a hassle-free manner, the ex-PM told Dainik Bhaskar, adding that the move will also give impetus to ease of doing business.
"Multi-slab GST, with frequent changes in norms and tax rates, has hit the small and medium sector," Singh said, adding that the dearth in domestic manufacture allowed Chinese producers to further flood the Indian markets.
Reviving Rural Consumption
The second major measure suggested by Singh to the Modi government is to evive the agriculture and boost rural consumption. This is possible only through "concrete alternatives", he said, adding that the freeing of agricultural markets would allow "money to reach in the hands of the people".
Rebooting Labour-Intensive Sectors
The third point suggested by the economist-politician is to not to infuse liquidity for capital formation. The fourth, he added, is to reboot key sectors such as textile, automobile, electronics and affordable housing which not only given an impetus to the suffering GDP, but also provide employment as they are labour-intensive sectors.
Using Trade War to India's Advantage
The fifth measure suggested by the ex-PM pertains to the current state of geopolitics. The ongoing US-China trade war, claimed Singh, presents India an opportunity to boost exports. If advantage of the trade war is reaped to surge exports, the GDP could recover in the next 3-4 years, he added.
Even before implementing the 5-point remedy, the government should first accept that the country is in the midst of a major economic crisis, Singh said. "Time has com for them to come out of the habit of headline management. Already, a lot of time has been wasted," Singh was reported as saying.