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India's CII releases suggested election manifesto

Mar '19
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently released a suggested election manifesto, offering an economic roadmap for the incoming government after the schedule for general elections was announced. It covers agriculture, health, infrastructure, manufacturing, technology and other sectors and has been shared with all major political parties.

“We believe that political parties will consider these suggestions and include them in their manifesto,” said CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee.

CII targets an average growth rate of 8 per cent per annum for the next five years.

The manifesto envisages a continued high pace of reforms, enabling India to take a lead in a world of multiple transformations in the global and technology environment, a CII press release quoted him as saying.

The document calls for compressing goods and services tax (GST) rate slabs to two or three and lowering corporate income tax to 18 per cent with no exemptions to make Indian tax rates globally competitive. It also highlights administrative, judicial and police reforms.

On electoral reforms, CII suggests devising a model for simultaneous elections of parliament and state legislatures from 2024.

The note advocates raising public expenditure on education to 6 per cent of gross domestic product and link universities with industry and increase government funding for research and development to 1 per cent of GDP.

On skill development, the industry body has recommended lifelong skilling modules and new delivery models based on technology.

To generate new livelihoods, the manifesto has called for an empowered committee of central and state labour ministers to rework labour laws. Labour-intensive manufacturing and services sectors like food processing, textiles and apparel, tourism and healthcare need special attention, it said.

For the agriculture sector, CII has called for introducing a comprehensive National Agriculture Mission in partnership with state governments. A ranking of ‘ease of doing agriculture’ for states is suggested.

According to the manifesto, industrial corridors and sector-specific industrial parks need to be promoted through public-private partnership. Focus on champion sectors and technology-enabled industrialisation with shared digital facilities will boost manufacturing.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be allocated 25 per cent land in industrial corridors at lenient rates. Procurement policies for MSME in state governments will strengthen smaller enterprises, added the manifesto. (DS)

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March 2019

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