India: The fastest growing country in the world – or not?

rupee-casinosGrowing up in a family of accountants, I learned the word tax before cartoons, played monopoly more than snakes and ladders, and watched the news channels more than regional serials. Just like millions of other women, I grew up as a daddy’s girl (still am), everything he did was of utmost importance to me. I wanted to walk like him, talk smart like him and even watch the same shows he did. While January is New Year for rest of the world, we wait until March. The Indian Budget has always been the most intriguing, entertaining and important reality show for my father and I.

Although, I got older and do not follow as much current affairs as my father would like me to, the budget is something I never miss. Not because I am a commerce student, but, because I am a stakeholder of the country, and every decision made, every bill passed, and every reform introduced during the budget has a major impact on me.

I follow the budget from multiple sources, but, ET now is my favorite. If you know me well, you probably know that I am a big Arnab Goswami fan. Yes, he is over the top, contradicts his statements, and can get very annoying at times. Having said that, the TRPs and countless excellence in journalism awards he received, cannot be ignored. Most of the content on this blog is from the big budget debate on ET now.

In business school, most of the times we discuss about how India is a probable threat to most of the current super powers and why not, we are the only fastest growing country in the world, with a growth rate of 7%, we are growing faster than China (yeaiy!)

Now that we rejoiced at that, it is important to acknowledge the fact that India has also been witnessing a major low in industrial production, with very little movement in manufacturing. This past period the ruling government has experience tremendous fortune because of the fall in the crude prices, however, the big question remains – why did you and I not benefit from it? Ignoring the fact that the consumers have not reaped any benefit, what raises eyebrows further up is the fact that the excise duty has been increased to an extent that, the ruling government earned an extra 17K Cr on increased excise duty!

In the governments defense against the increase in the excise duty, evidence have been put forth that the additional revenue earned is being invested into the crop insurance, social security scheme and other on-going projects to satisfy the per capita farming deficit of 47K Rupees per person.

Although, automation has been a boost to the countries intellectual property, it is also one of the biggest contributors towards the current 14.5% rate of un-employment among skilled ITES trained candidates. With about 12-14 million annually getting ready for the workforce – is the government putting enough efforts to meet the goal of creating an additional 119 million jobs in 24 sectors by 2022?

Okay, even if we consider the efforts being put into clearing the farming deficit, how about the other rural assets that has potential employment opportunities? How about dis-investing the capital assets to invest into higher education, low cost housing, irrigation and other public sector jobs?

The probabilities are endless, but again, the ruling party has time to prove its worth, yes, it is an old country, with bureaucracy over powering democracy, sentiments over powering economics and yes “acche din” is a process, but, as stakeholders when are we going to get our share of the pie?

Like Arnab said – the opportunity is not lost, threat persists, understand strengths and be aware of weaknesses. Perhaps, a little patience and lot of capital and FDI later, we shall all witness a better story, until then, pay your taxes in time.

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#2016, #budget, #economics, #india