Home / News / India /  Job creation, women’s empowerment top priorities for secretaries panel

The government has established 12 committees comprising top officials to devise ways to stoke long-term economic growth amid global uncertainties. The panels are working on easing the compliance burden for businesses, encouraging private investment in infrastructure, supporting small businesses, and promoting job creation, a person familiar with discussions in the government said.

Based on the suggestions, the government will draw up plans to help India match developed country parameters in these areas and create an enabling infrastructure for growth over the next 25 years, the person said, seeking anonymity. The committees have representatives from states and Union territories.

The move comes at a time India’s exports and job creation are being adversely affected by a decline in global demand due to rising interest rates. The government has been increasing spending on infrastructure projects to stimulate private investment and drive economic growth.

The 12 working groups are based on six sub-themes of two broad pillars—growth and job creation; and inclusive human development. The six themes include minimizing regulatory compliances, infrastructure and investments, thrust on small businesses, empowering women, health and nutrition, and skill development.

“The secretaries’ panels are working on identifying specific milestones to be achieved in each of these areas over the next 25 years so that they are on a par with developed country parameters. Based on these milestones, specific schemes and programmes needed will be drawn up. That work is going on," said a second person who is also familiar with the discussions in the government. The targets will soon be turned into a plan of action and will take into account the requirements of economic growth and human capital development, the person said.

While Punjab leads the group on minimizing regulatory compliance, the one to assess the cost of regulation is led by Tamil Nadu. The working group on improving private investment is led by Gujarat, with a focus on manufacturing, housing and real estate, and services.

Madhya Pradesh is leading the grouping for urban infrastructure, urban transport, roads and logistics, power and industrial infrastructure.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which were most affected by the impact of demonetization and the pandemic, figure prominently in the deliberations. Haryana is leading the grouping for formalization, assessment, and bridging the credit gap in MSMEs across sectors and synergizing states’ and the Union government’s efforts towards inclusion.

The key recommendations of these groups will be discussed during the second National Chief Secretaries Conference to be held in 2023.

Various projections have pegged the economic growth for the current fiscal at close to 7%. Emails sent to the spokespeople for the finance ministry and NITI Aayog on Tuesday seeking comments for the story remained unanswered.

India needs to create an enabling infrastructure for growth, said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Bank of Baroda.

“The focus on reducing regulatory compliance has always been high on the agenda of the government, but requires a push from states. This will also help improve private investment flows as the industry looks at different states and then takes a call on where to invest. If we do take this up seriously, it should create a spirit of competition where states work to attract more investment, which in turn will help to create jobs," said Sabnavis. Therefore, the link to creating jobs is furthering investment where regulatory barriers need to be eased, he added.

“This will help a lot over time. Hence, as we wait for the demand cycle to turn more favourable, which is the driving factor for investment, these clean-up operations will drive investment to the states which are more open," he added.

The Union government has allocated 1 trillion as interest-free 50-year capex loans for states in FY23 to be spent on new or ongoing projects.

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