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How to fix India’s competitive deficit

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  • Competitiveness Roadmap for India@100. It sets out the guidelines for India to become a $20 trillion economy in 25 years. Mint decodes the report:

What is hurting India’s competitiveness? 

Millions of Indians enter the job market every year. However, job opportunities are largely available in the informal sector, which lack the scope to build human capital and enhance performance over time. A  lower female labour force participation rate is also a drag on economic performance. Inequitable regional growth is another challenge. Low investments levels in research and development, especially from corporates, a large unskilled labour force, and the lack of a robust education system are other hurdles to achieving higher levels of competitiveness in India.

What is the India@100 report about? 

The report lays down a roadmap for India’s growth journey and sets new guiding principles. It provides guidelines to states, ministries, and other stakeholders who are critical in the country’s growth story for setting sector-specific roadmaps for achieving targeted goals. It is founded on the competitiveness framework developed by academician Michael E. Porter, and is based on the concept of productivity being the key driver of continued prosperity of nations — higher productivity levels will not only help firms produce more but will also enable individuals to partake in the value generated through their higher productivity.

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What are the major guiding principles of India@100? 

The roadmap stresses on ‘4 S’ guiding principles’, essentially the integration of social and economic agendas. This stresses the need for prosperity growth to be matched by ‘social progress’, to be ‘shared’ across all regions, to be environmentally ‘sustainable’, and to be ‘solid’ in the face of external shocks. It also underlines the need for sector and region-specific policies.

What are the key measures proposed? 

The report suggests essential action areas, keeping in mind the improvement of labour productivity, enhancement of labour mobilization, furthering the creation of job opportunities, and most importantly, how seamless coordination among ministries can lead to more effective policy implementation. The report states that the focus should be on identifying and developing KPIs for all stakeholders — the moot point being that a clear strategy focussed on priority areas will be the key.

How can government depts work better? 

There needs to be a time-bound clearance mechanism with accountability at each level. Inter-governmental or ministerial disputes may be resolved by setting up an ombudsman. The approach should be applicable even in the case of disputes regarding ownership of assets. Seamless coordination between the Centre and states under the realm of cooperative federalism can lay the path to prosperity across all regions of the country.

Jagadish Shettigar and Pooja Misra are faculty members at BIMTECH.

Elsewhere in Mint

In Opinion, Ajay Piramal & Monal Jayaram argue why literacy should be much more than what it means today. Parmy Olson explains how contact lenses are replacing phone screens. Deepak Nayyar argues growth is more than arithmatic and economics. Long Story predicts the future of moonlighting in Indian companies.

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