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Reforms, infrastructure must be top priority for new Govt: CII

Our Bureau

New Delhi , April 12

THE Confederation of Indian Industry has released a 10-point agenda for the new Government at the Centre, which it feels is imperative to sustain a 10 per cent growth rate and make India a developed nation by 2020.

In a statement, the chamber President, Mr Anand Mahindra, has said that the 10-point agenda pertains to reforms in various areas, including infrastructure, agriculture, social infrastructure, entrepreneurship and self-employment, VAT, foreign relations, manufacturing, governance, fiscal management and exports.

The statement says that the Government must deepen and accelerate reforms to facilitate rapid infrastructural expansion and also execute major infrastructure projects speedily and efficiently and in a transparent way. This, the chamber has said, should be the top priority of the country to sustain high growth.

"A key element of the infrastructure policy should be to ensure energy security. This could be done in close co-operation with the US, Japan and China. Our new source of oil and energy will have to be Central Asia," Mr Mahindra said.

In the agricultural arena, the chamber has said that the time is ripe for a new revolution in the sector with emphasis on multi-cropping, processing and high-tech value addition in the food chain. Science and technology must be harnessed to create the second agricultural revolution, the chamber has said.

In addition, the chamber has said that priority should be given to the areas of primary education with the focus being on quality upgradation and faculty improvement. Long-distance delivery of quality education through the use of IT could also be explored, the statement said. Healthcare at affordable prices to address diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria and more focus on water, covering conservation and interlinking of rivers and easy access to potable drinking water for the common man must be a key priority.

The chamber has also said that the Government should devise schemes for more innovative entrepreneurship and self-employment avenues through vocational training.

Besides, it has also made a plea for the implementation of value added tax (VAT) across the country, emphasising on the fact that its implementation will make India a lucrative common market benefiting farmers, consumer industries and all other sectors of society.

Another key priority for the new Government should be to consolidate the measures already taken to build new relationships across the globe for mutual benefit, particularly focusing on the developing world. The Government should increase interaction with South and South-East Asia, the statement said.

As part of its agenda, the chamber has said that there should be an increased effort on governance by creating a nationwide environment of security and safety for the common citizen, especially for women. This is a prerequisite for development and will also facilitate the expansion of tourism in the country.

On the fiscal management front, the chamber has said that there should be constant efforts made to reduce the fiscal deficit. Rationalisation of taxation and expenditure control are also essential, the chamber said.

As regards exports, the chamber has said that the Government should aim for a 25 per cent growth on a compounded annual basis through a variety of policy and procedural innovations.

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