With reference to the news report ‘640 infra projects running behind schedule, some up to 26 years’, infrastructure development remains one of the biggest contributors to our GDP, but their delays are the biggest roadblocks in economic growth.
Besides delay in land acquisition and forest clearance, it is lack of project finance that derails projects.
Nitin Gadkari, a Minister known for his efficiency, would do well to ensure that such humongous delays are not part of any project allotted in the last 3-4 years.
Close monitoring and better State-Centre coordination would go a long way in ensuring timely completion of such projects.
Post 1990s, governments focused on market determined agro production levels and prices, neglecting its role of facilitator in the agro sector.
After three decades, the government shaped a Model Contract Farming Act 2018. Tamil Nadu has since led the way in 2020 with its own Act. Others must follow. For these Acts to be of real benefit to farmers, a complementary effort is needed in reinventing farmer cooperatives even as the government focuses on infrastructure, research and water management.
Leveraging nodal institutions it must, seed, assist and guide marginalised farmers to form cooperatives for scientific farm management and an overarching crop planning and produce mix, at regional and national levels. Importantly, these co-ops can reclaim their rightful bargaining power and embrace contract farming.
Precarious State finances
This refers to the report on the debt accumulated by States and the application of various yardsticks to judge its position. A cursory glance paints a gloomy picture of certain States which are on market borrowings spree.
Rising interest rates are likely to get these States caught in a debt trap. States violating the fiscal deficit limits set by FRBM Act and Fifteenth Finance Commission is worrying.
One of the main reasons for high debt rate of States is the growing freebies culture to lure voters. Recently the Supreme Court had also pulled up the Centre and Election Commission on this issue. But still freebies go unabated.
Also under ‘cooperative federalism’ a healthy relationship needs to be maintained between centre and states by rationalising tax income based on GSDP(Gross State Domestic Product) of states leading to strengthening their fiscal condition.
IITs as innovation hubs
The news report ‘Fewer IITians heading abroad’ (June 6), is refreshing and heartening. This is how we can stop the brain drain. The IITs should be hubs of innovation and encourage start-ups which will lead to self-employment and entrepreneurship.
The government should set up a panel of advisors for each ministry consisting of experts. For example, the Health Ministry can be advised by doctors like Devi Prasad Shetty, Abhay and Rani Bang. IT sector can have an advisory committee with people like NR Narayana Murthy. These committees should directly report to the PMO.
Secondly entrepreneurs setting up start-ups in rural, tribal areas should be given more concessions.
Farmers who entirely depend on rain for their income can find alternate employment with these new entrepreneurs. Finally, entrepreneurs with rich experience should be taken into confidence by the government to help new entrepreneurs.