If you had three wishes?
My first priority would be to help improve rural productivity (not rural consumption). This means providing incentives, education, market access and credit facility for rural India to promote drip irrigation, India-friendly mechanization, large-scale farming and use of better seeds. Second, I would give a fillip to rural and semi-urban manufacturing. In addition to rural infrastructure, primarily roads and ports, this would take the form of tax incentives for large new manufacturing units (with at least 1,000 employees), credit facilitation particularly for industries where clustering can provide advantages, and funding for six-eight regionally diversified world-class skilling and reskilling centres (i.e. vocational institutes of the IIT/IIM class). Third, I would make the corporate bond market happen. This is vital not only for companies to source non-bank intermediated local capital but also for any large infrastructure project.
Narayan Ramachandran, MD, country head, Morgan Stanley India
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If you could end something?
I would end the subsidy—both for petroleum products and fertilizers, but particularly petroleum. I think this costs the exchequer, the environment and ultimately the people, because it distorts demand behaviour to the point of egregious choice.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t touch/change?
I would leave taxes well alone. Our income-tax rates are low compared with those in many other countries, but the complexity and variety of our taxes makes the total bill onerous.
What is your idea of inclusive growth?
It is a material increase in the number of households who have the opportunity to access, participate and shape a dynamic, vibrant Indian economy. This number is woefully small, probably a mere 25% of households. This must begin with education—not just the three R’s kind—but the type that will make our youth employable with vocational and (English) language skills. This newly created labour force (that could be as high as about eight million a year) needs to be matched with service and manufacturing jobs. Fixing our vocational institutes and our employment matching exchanges to deliver modern, customer-friendly results is key to success here.