In an environment of high inflation and slow growth, the BJP is giving shape to its economic agenda that is aimed at reigniting the country’s sagging economy.
In its yet-to-be-tabled election manifesto, the main Opposition party is likely to announce its endeavour to bring back the ill-gotten cash stashed in overseas tax havens, revamping the Planning Commission and a raft of new policy measures to push up growth.
As per the new estimates drawn up for the first time since 1985 and compiled at the government’s behest by three think-tanks, the size of black money is pegged at around 30 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) or about `25 lakh crore.
The 16-member manifesto committee headed by octogenarian leader Murli Manohar Joshi is likely to finalise the draft manifesto in the next few days. Joshi along with the other members of the team have held wide consultations with the various stakeholders like the corporates, industry, farmers, defence personne and Dalits to incorporate their views in the document.
The manifesto committee had even launched a special website for inviting suggestions from the public. Joshi told Express that the manifesto will be ready soon and it will be placed before the BJP Parliamentary Board to take a call. Through its manifesto, the party is also expected to give a new shape and form to the Planning Commission by allowing it to play a more proactive role in economic planning and monitoring economic growth. “The economy is in a bad shape. A lot needs to be done to revive it. Expectations of the electorate are very high and it will be a challenge for any party to put India back on the growth rails,” D K Joshi, chief economist, Crisil, told Express.
Besides,it is expected to include a slew of big-bang policy reforms to revive the infrastructure, especially the roads and ports, the manufacturing sector and the auto sector that had registered de-growth in the whole of the last calendar year.
Apart from the economic reforms, the BJP is also pinning its hopes on the farmers. The party is looking at some of the suggestions like not using cultivable land for setting up industry; instead such zones will be set up where land is available, like those neighbouring the coastal areas, but not used for farming activities.