New government and economic priorities

Prof Mithilesh Kumar Sinha
Department of Economics
Nagaland University, Lumami

The biggest festival of democracy was over on 19th of May. Campaigns are run on promises but governance is judged by performance. Former New York governor Mario Cuomo put it more eloquently: “One campaigns in poetry but governs in prose. India is a classic example of this political truism. It is a good time to outline what should be some of the priorities for India’s incoming government, whether NDA (as seems likely) or some Congress-centred coalition.

Issues like sustained economic growth, national security and protection of democratic values are among key poll priorities

Latest government data that shows the slowing of rural wages is worrying. As is the detail that they actually declined for several months in 2018-19. The situation is exacerbated by the ongoing agrarian crisis which, at least to date, hasn’t been addressed adequately by either the spate of farm loan waivers across India or the increase in the government’s procurement price for key crops.With the elections behind it, the government that takes charge in late May would do well to ignore political compulsions (never out of the picture in a country where the next round of state elections is scheduled for late 2019) and embark on much-needed rural and agricultural reforms.

India must focus on growth of labour-intensive sectors to create decent jobs for the masses. India needs a clear focus on the growth of labour-intensive sectors such as apparel, footwear, furniture, kitchenware and other light manufactures to create decent jobs for the masses.

For a fast-growing large democracy, human capital will be the driving force behind future growth. India must significantly invest in health and education to leverage its demographic dividend.

education – at both the primary and higher levels – deserves close attention as a priority. Data shows that in India, unemployment is highly concentrated among the most-educated in the society. Nearly 35% of those with post-graduate degrees are unemployed, as opposed to only 6.2% uneducated young workers. This raises questions about the gap between skill and educational degrees.

In modern India, cities have emerged as the engines of growth and opportunities. For people to thrive, cities must thrive as well. An increasingly urbanising country needs to address its crisis of affordable housing supply in urban centres. New govt must bring in land, labour reforms for economic growth