Vice Chairman of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog Rajiv Kumar said onFriday that the new government must think afresh on ways to create new jobs, modernise agriculture and increase exports. “The next five years can be a sterling period where NITI Aayog is right at the centre of a transformational process of Indian economy. The most important part of the economic agenda is to encourage private investments,” he told ANI.
Kumar said the cost of capital in India is extraordinarily high. “Our real cost of capital is more than 6 per cent. In China, it is less than 2 per cent.” The full Budget for the current financial year to be unveiled after the formation of the new government should focus on reviving private investment and improve credit availability, he said. Lending by housing finance companies has come down by 20 per cent. This is a cause of concern and needs to be addressed in the Budget, said Kumar. He also urged to reflate consumption demand as many sectors like FMCG, consumer durables and automobiles are facing headwinds.
At the same time, the public sector must withdraw from sectors where the private sector can step in. “There is no reason for public sector to be running hotels and other things that we do. A revival of public-private partnerships is required. We need to share the risks with private sector.”
Modernisation of agriculture and doubling the farmers’ income is also imperative, said Kumar. “We have to ramp up investments in agro-processing and make the agriculture sector more efficient.
“It may be recalled that on March 29, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had tweeted: “If voted to power, we will scrap the NITI Aayog. It has served no purpose other than making marketing presentations for the PM & fudging data. We will replace it with a lean Planning Commission whose members will be renowned economists and experts with less than 100 staff.” (ANI)