NEW DELHI:The Narendra Modi government is fast learning the art of tackling the Opposition. Unable to carry out its economic reform policies—including GST and land reforms due to political opposition—the Central government is letting BJP-ruled states design their own development plans to become “investment-friendly states” and implement reform policies aggressively.
A special cell has been formed in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to work with the Niti Aayog, the policy think-tank set up by Modi. An official in the PMO has been given the responsibility of coordination.
According to sources, Modi has discussed the importance of having a common platform with chief ministers of BJP-ruled states. The strategy is to implement reforms and the investor-friendly labour policy that were stalled by the Opposition. All BJP-ruled states have been told to work on their own land bills as the Union government’s Land Bill is stuck in Parliament due to opposition from Congress and other parties.
“The government has not been able to go ahead with its reform agenda due to various political reasons. This move is to get reforms unfurled in BJP states and then showcase them to the nation,’’ an official in the PMO told The Sunday Standard.
There is also a plan to set common development goals for BJP-ruled states and to organise business conclaves to attract FDIs.
Chief ministers are happy with the move as it will allow them to enact their own laws instead of waiting for Central clearances.
BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have started rolling out reforms in the labour sector. Most of the states have their single-window clearance system ready and are in the process of framing their own investor-friendly land laws. Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have prepared land banks.
“Modi’s government may have often been accused of centralisation of power, but this is a classic case of cooperative federalism,’’ said the source. “When other states see the benefits of being investment-friendly, they will follow.” What prompted the government to look at BJP-ruled states is that it is easier to frame state legislations than to get them enacted in Parliament, especially as BJP does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha.
ROAD TO REFORM
* CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has launched a single-table system to clear business proposals and has enacted a Public Service Guarantee Act binding officials to clear proposals.
* Has land bank of 30,000 hectares. Investor can submit a land acquisition proposal online.
Most BJP states are modelling their reforms on Gujarat, which has liberal land and labour policies. It has 97 parameters for ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
The Vasundhare Raje government has brought out a liberal land policy to attract investment by amending a number of Acts that makes it easy for investors to acquire land.
CM M L Khattar is working on pro-industry amendments to existing labour laws, and is creating huge land bank to attract investors.
CM Devendra Fadnavis has reduced time for granting construction approvals and power connections and has created a committee to push labour reforms.