Setting up of bodies similar to Competition Commission of India (CCI) at state levels could speed up clearances for projects at different levels. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), in its recommendations has stated that increasing independence would be the only way to boost economic growth.
The chamber’s National Economic Affairs Council, in its turn around plan has strongly recommended measures for replacing imports with domestic production, boosting exports and reviving investment in key infrastructure sectors like power, roads and ports by extending them tax breaks.
Emphasising that corrective action should be placed by the end of the fiscal, it said their proposed strategy aims ‘drastic cuts’ in avoidable imports, finding alternatives in steel, coal and even hydro-carbons while making exports free from procedural delays and incentivising them. “Sustaining imports of about $500 billion without commensurate exports cannot be sustainable for long.”
Aiming to lessen the burden on fiscal deficit due to import of crude oil which stands at around $144 billion (FY13), they stated that more energy should be channeled into domestic and commercial exploration. “Of the 117 discoveries as of April 2012 under the New Exploration Licensing Policy, development plan has been approved only for a fraction of discoveries. Of these, again a fraction of them are under production.”
Pointing out that utilisation of Indian steel industry has fallen to 82% due to shortage of ore, it said that this has resulted in cheap imports from Japan and Korea. “A gold deposit account, offered by scheduled commercial banks, would represent notional units of gold and provides gold price return in weight terms. The gold liability created with the GDA will have to be netted off at the economy wide level with a body holding gold in the form of asset. The GoI/RBI can set up the Gold Bank which can procure and retain gold abroad through offshore foreign currency borrowings say, linked to Libor rate,” Assocham said.