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‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’
That is the underlying message of an Atmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India. Much of this self-reliance could emerge from policies, reforms, regulatory frameworks and incentives founded on trust in an ecosystem in which multiple stakeholders – be it the Government, corporates, industry bodies and citizens – operate. The Union Budget 2023, slated to be presented on 1 February 2023, could be one of the many triggers to action trust.
The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has recently emphasised that growth both at the macro-economic and micro-economic levels will be the top priority, and understandably so. If India has to move up the global economy charts from its current ranking as the fifth largest economy in the world, growth priorities will have to take centre-stage, notwithstanding grave concerns around inflation.
In line with these priorities, this edition of our digizine Immersive Outlook focuses on ways and means of propelling the nation’s growth.
‘Our growth prospects, to me, look good,’ emphasises Dr Arvind Panagariya, Padma Bhushan recipient, author and Professor of Economics and Indian Political Economy at Columbia University in a virtual conversation with Ranen Banerjee, Economic Advisory Services Partner and Government sector Leader. ‘For India, I am not worried at all,’ he adds. ‘Our macro remains robust. Fiscal consolidation can begin to proceed. Some bit of depreciation that has happened was much needed, there is still room for a little more. I will not be surprised if the 2022-23 growth rate ends up at 8%.’
Dr. Panagariya further stresses the need to strengthen both imports and exports especially with larger economies, and the importance of decreasing import restrictions and signing free trade agreements to open the floodgates of liberalisation. His insights on macroeconomics, trade, globalisation and self-reliance aptly set the backdrop for the subsequent articles.
The first article, ‘Actioning trust to generate sustainable revenue’, offers actionable recommendations for the upcoming Union Budget. Subject matter experts, Akhilesh Ranjan, S. Ramesh, Sanjay Tolia and Jitendra Jain, contend that India’s tax-to-GDP ratio could be increased exponentially from its current significantly low 11.7% by undertaking specific trust-building measures to ensure effective compliance and to plug revenue leakages. The recommendations offered in the areas of widening the tax base, augmenting revenue, effectively managing litigation, strengthening taxpayer services, and aligning with the ESG agenda could contribute significantly to the Government’s continued focus on building trust between taxpayers and the tax administration, and could help accelerate India’s onward journey towards becoming a developed economy in the long term.
India’s transformation and growth have a direct correlation with the education and skills of its 1.4 billion citizens. A critical lever to propel growth, scale up and strengthen the economy, education needs to factor in social and economic inclusion that ensures both access and equity. Accordingly, in the next article, 'Moving the education needle for the greater good', Sanjeev Krishan PwC in India Chairperson and Ashok Varma, Social Sector Advisory practice Leader, underline both the investment areas and investments required to ensure education for all.
Increased tax revenues can lead to increased investments to educate the masses, and vice versa. With the mammoth budget required to drive transformation in the education sector, the authors outline a framework for both public and private investments in specific sub-sectors of education. This, in turn, feeds into Sustainable Development Goal 4, which focuses on quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.
The concluding section – a video interview – has Manish Sharma, Chairman, Panasonic Life Solutions India providing his perspective on pertinent issues ranging from self-reliance to job creation, backward integration to production-linked incentives, smart working to sustainable living. His dialogue with Venkata Peri, Research and Insights Hub Leader and Sanjay Tolia, a Chartered Accountant, captures the nation and its narrative strands impactfully, showing how the seeds of success need to be planted by the whole of society in a soil nurtured with trust and belief in one’s full potential.
We hope you enjoy reading the articles and watching the interviews, and that they provide some critical insights into the way forward. Reach out to us if you would like to have a more detailed discussion on any of the aspects we have touched upon.
Vishnupriya Sengupta, Director, Markets
For Dr Aravind Panagariya, Padma Bhushan recipient and Professor of Economics and Indian Political Economy at Columbia University, India has arrived. In a freewheeling conversation with Ranen Banerjee, Economic Advisory Services Partner and Government sector Leader, he emphasises that India will become the third largest economy in six to seven years. Upbeat about India’s growth story, Dr Panagariya holds forth on rupee depreciation, India’s free trade agreements, globalisation and his own upbringing in a middle-class family
India’s tax-to-GDP ratio of 11.7% is significantly lower compared to that of similar sized economies whose tax-to-GDP ratio is ~25%. Here are a few key actionable recommendations to help increase this ratio, and widen the tax base from subject matter experts, Akhilesh Ranjan, S. Ramesh, Sanjay Tolia and Jitendra Jain
Education is a critical lever to boost the nation’s economic growth. Sanjeev Krishan, Chairperson, PwC in India and Ashok Varma, Social Sector Advisory practice leader, study the investment areas and outline a framework for both public and private investments in specific areas to drive transformation in the education sector.
Self-reliance to job creation. Backward integration to production-linked incentives. Smart working to sustainable living. Humility to happiness. Manish Sharma, Chairman, Panasonic Life Solutions India provides his perspective on all this and more in a dialogue with Venkata Peri, Research & Insights Hub leader and Sanjay Tolia, a chartered accountant