The Aatmanirbhar Campaign Paves Way For Multidimensional Reforms

Following the PM’s address, the Finance Minister put forth a post-Covid vision through a number of structural and long-pending reforms for the revival of the Indian economy which has taken a deep hit following the Coronavirus pandemic.

Crux of the Matter

PM Modi said in his speech, “Covid-19 has brought an opportunity for India” and the sectoral reforms that followed in the stimulus package for all sectors and businesses seem to not only help to revive the economy but also revolutionize and upgrade the Indian markets to international standards.

One Nation One Ration Card
In the present system, a ration cardholder can buy foodgrains only from an FPS that has been assigned in the nearest locality. However, the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system will identify a beneficiary through electronic point of sale (ePOS) device through which even if the person migrates to another state/town will be able to buy subsidized foodgrains without any hassle.

Technology Reforms in Education
‘PM eVIDYA’ program has been launched for digital education across India. Also, in a first, an initiative for psycho-social support for students, teachers, and families for mental health is launched by the name ‘Mandorpan’.

National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission to be launched by December 2020, will ensure that every child attains learning levels and outcomes in grade 5 by 2025. New National Curriculum and Pedagogical framework for school, early childhood, and teachers have been announced. 

Fast-tracking Investments
Project Development Cell in each ministry will coordinate with investors to bring in new investment-likely projects to boost local employment. Promotional incentive schemes to attract investments in new sectors like Solar PV manufacturing, advanced cell battery storage to be launched soon.

States will now be ranked on the basis of Investment Attractiveness to develop healthy competition in the country. Also, Investment clearances will be made fast-track through the Group of Secretaries (EGoS).

Coal & Mining Sector
Ending the central monopoly, the FM announced the deregulation of the coal mining sector. To increase coal production and reduce import dependency, the government will increase the private sector participation in the coal businesses.

The government will increase competition by replacing the regime of fixed rupee/tonne by revenue sharing mechanism. Now any party can bid for a coal block and sell it in the open market. Entry norm will be simplified and 50 coal and 500 mining blocks will be offered immediately with no eligibility conditions.

Coal Gasification/Liquification will be incentivized through rebate in revenue share which will now help reduce environmental impact and switch to a gas-based economy. A massive investment of Rs.18,000 crores for mechanized transfer of coal via conveyor belts to railway siding has been proposed. Coal bed Methane extraction rights will now be auctioned from Coal India Limited’s (CIL) coal mines. For further ease of doing business a Mining Plan Simplification will be implemented which will be loaded online.

Reforms in Agriculture
Essential Commodities Act will be amended which will pave the way to deregulate agriculture food items including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potato. The stock limit will only be imposed under very exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with surge in prices.

A central law will be now in place to provide adequate choices to the farmers to sell their crops at lucrative prices through barrier-free inter-state trade. A framework for e-trading of agricultural produce will be brought into effect.

The Government will finalize a facilitative legal framework which shall enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, and exporters in a fair and transparent manner. The framework will provide for risk mitigation, assured returns, and quality standardization for farmers.

For better price realization to farmers ‘Operation Greens’ which is run by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries will now be extended to all fruit and vegetables and further also provide a 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets, 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storages.

Reforms In Labour Laws
The government has announced its future plans of reforming the current 44 labour laws and bringing it down to only 4 labour codes. The bill is currently in the parliamentary standing committee and will soon be introduced in parliament.

The projected pipeline in this sector includes universalization of right to minimum wages and timely payment, appointment letters, annual health checkups, extension of ESIC coverage, and occupational safety and hazard Code.

The Prime Minister believes that self-reliance will prepare the country for tough competition in the global supply chain, and it is important that India wins this competition to emerge as a global leader.

  • A stimulus package is a package of economic measures put together by a government to stimulate a floundering economy. The objective of a stimulus package is to reinvigorate the economy and prevent or reverse a recession by boosting employment and spending.
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a law meant to address the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. This legislation was the largest-ever economic stimulus package in U.S. history, amounting to 10% of total U.S. gross domestic product.
  • During the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the Indian government’s stimulus package was around Rs 30,700-crore, mainly comprising additional spending and excise duty cuts aimed at boosting consumption. The package aimed at steering the economy during a slowdown due to the recession.