With General Elections scheduled shortly, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII ) has released a Suggested Election Manifesto, providing an economic roadmap for the incoming government. It covers suggestions across a range of subjects including Agriculture, Education, Health, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Technology and Environment.

Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said, “After extensive discussion with industry members and experts from various fields, we have evolved key suggestions to make an India of economic strength, technological vitality and moral leadership towards India@75 in 2022. We believe that political parties will consider these suggestions and include them in their manifesto.”

The CII Suggested Election Manifesto has been shared with all major political parties, both national and regional, for their consideration and inclusion in their party manifesto.

CII targets an average growth rate of 8% per annum for the next five years.

“The CII Suggested Manifesto envisages a continued high pace of reforms, enabling India to take a lead in a world of multiple transformations in the global and technology environment,” said Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.

The CII document calls for compressing GST rate slabs to 2 or 3 and lowering corporate income tax to 18% with no exemptions to make Indian tax rates globally competitive.

“The CII Suggested Manifesto highlights administrative, judicial and police reforms. We also recommend the highest priority on education, healthcare and infrastructure, among other sectors,” added Mr Banerjee.

On electoral reforms, CII suggests devising a model for simultaneous elections of Parliament and state legislatures from 2024

The CII note advocates raising public expenditure on education to 6% of GDP. It suggests making vocational training part of the curriculum and incentivising better performance of teachers with upgraded digital school infrastructure, especially in rural schools. A key measure would be to link universities with industry and increase government funding for R&D to 1% of GDP.

On skill development, the industry body has recommended lifelong skilling modules and new delivery models based on technology.

CII has said that public expenditure on health should be increased to 3% of GDP to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure. The healthcare sector should be notified as an infrastructure sector. Reducing India’s maternal and infant mortality ratios must be taken up on priority basis, said the CII press release.

To generate new livelihoods, CII in its Suggested Manifesto has called for an empowered committee of central and state labour ministers to rework labour laws. Labour-intensive manufacturing and services sectors like food processing, textiles and apparel, tourism, healthcare, etc. need special attention.

For the agriculture sector, CII has called for introducing a comprehensive National Agriculture Mission in partnership with state governments. A ranking of Ease of Doing Agriculture for states is suggested. It is important to promote efficient marketing in electronic National Agriculture Markets to ensure better farmer income, noted the CII statement.

CII suggested that implementing a Basic District Development Plan with super-specialty hospitals, multi-skill centers and other facilities in each district would help the rural economy.

According to CII’s Suggested Election Manifesto, industrial corridors and sector-specific industrial parks need to be promoted through public-private partnership. Focus on Champion Sectors and technology-enabled industrialisation with shared digital facilities will boost manufacturing.

MSME should be allocated 25% land in industrial corridors at lenient rates. Procurement policies for MSME in state governments will strengthen smaller enterprises, says the CII Suggested Election Manifesto.

In the infrastructure sector, public private partnerships (PPP) need to be strengthened and delayed projects and delayed payments to project contractors must be addressed.

The CII Suggested Election Manifesto identifies retail, tourism, media and entertainment and other labour-intensive sectors as labour-intensive sectors requiring specific actions.

CII advocates that for strategic PSEs, Government stake should be lowered progressively in phase 1 to 51%, in phase 2 to 26% and in phase 3 to Nil. For other PSEs, Government should exit from business within 5 years.

Sustainable development with water management and air pollution mitigation are highlighted in the CII Suggested Election Manifesto. It also calls for more sports academies and preserving local arts and culture along with a policy for fostering the creative economy.

Source: CII