Never before have the rains mattered so much for the corporate sector as this year -despite all the efforts of a hard working government that has just completed two years. There is no doubt that in these two years, wastage has been targeted and reduced (Rs 36,000 crore saved in leakages). Natural resources like coal and gas have been protected and leveraged in a transparent and efficient manner (the savings through reduction in imports in coal last year saved the country Rs 24,000 crore in foreign exchange). The rightful recipients have been provided the subsidies meant for them. Corruption has been checked. Faith in the administration has begun to be restored.
Considering that we have budgeted Rs 205,000 crore for food and fertiliser schemes for FY17, plus pending bills of over Rs 100,000 crore, the Direct Benefit Transfer schemes will save crores of resources. Just knowing that our revenues are being administered restores a sense of assurance.
While there are plenty of welfare schemes that are being monitored both by the PM´s PRAGATI mechanism (the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) and the opposition, the infrastructure projects initiated by the Centre and states too are under observation. Road projects have taken the lead with 90 per cent of 380 delayed projects worth Rs 3.50 lakh crore taking off. Port projects worth Rs 70,000 crore have been planned and inland water projects are likely to see some traction with the Rs 4,000-crore Haldia waterway project getting the green signal. Railways have stepped up the budget by 100 per cent to Rs 93,975 crore and decision making has been accelerated while political exploitation of this ministry has ended. The Power Ministry has put the sale of LED on fire (sale of LED has increased from 6 lakh annually to 6 lakh per day). The UDAY scheme is aimed at restoring financial viability to the sector (the discom sector is sitting on a loss of Rs 3.20 crore) and several states have joined the scheme. The Urban Development Ministry has brought in the Real-Estate Regulation Act, the model building bylaws, the Smart Cities mission and the AMRUT mission initiating urban renewal reform. The missions are on track and are likely to see tenders being issued by the third quarter of the current financial year.
The Bankruptcy Code has been passed and ´Ease of Doing Business´ has gained momentum with states going on overdrive in terms of reducing the number of formalities hindering quicker registration processes.
The PM´s overseas travel has helped the renewed India brand get recognised at a time when we are the bright spot in economic growth among all countries and a record foreign direct investment (FDI) of $55.4 billion was received during financial year ended 2015-16. The entire effort to reduce leakages and corruption and get the government administration to work efficiently to deliver results has yet to yield clearly visible results. The economy continues to be under strain and the banking sector is heavily stressed despite the godsend opportunity of savings in our oil import bill. Public spending will be required to continue to lead the economy out of the morass. With its recent victory in Assam, the Modi Government needs to step up its game and, with a good monsoon, Modi 2.0 will be off to a good start.