Niti Aayog's Rajiv Kumar (File Photo)
Indian economist and Niti Aayog vice president Rajiv Kumar on Saturday laid the government's blueprint to bring in reforms in different trouble hit sectors, including water resources, taxation scrutiny and startup industry among others. Kumar was speaking at News Nation's 'Modi Budget 2.0' Sammelan held in New Delhi today. The event is significant as it comes a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget presentation for the fiscal year 2019-20.
Though social media is flooded with angry and perplexed reaction from middle class people over Modi 2.0's Budget 2019, Kumar gave an optimistic tune to the exercise, saying there are many sectors in which we can easily achieve double digit growth. The economist said the government's focus is on 8.4 per cent growth and to maintain it further just like China maintained it for nearly 30 years between 1978 and 2005. During the time, China maintained a stable economic growth of 9.6.
Kumar also reiterated government's target to make India USD 3 trillion economy by the end of 2019, as stated by Sitharaman during his Budget speech at Parliament yesterday.
On water scarcity, which is one of the major problems faced by the Indian society, the NITI Aayog vice chairman said maximum water is used in irrigation. Therefore, people should change the cropping patern and plants that absrobe minimum water should be encouraged. "Ancient grains like ragi, jowar, bajra should make a comeback in India's agriculture," he added.
Asked if the government has any plan to resolve the water crisis in India, Kumar advised countrymen to use bucket instead of taking showers for daily bath and not to wash cars.
On so called ‘tax terrorism’, Kumar said that individuals who have been facing such issues should give honest feedback to the government, adding that taxation scrutiny and several other online efforts are in pipeline to make the process more transparent.
During his nearly 20-minute-long one-on-one session, Kumar, the key member of the government also vowed to resolve issues of all investors while pitching to curb the offshore investment in the country.
On population dividend, Kumar explained that women empowerment is the key to resolve the issue, citing some examples of the southern states, where population growth has stabilised.He also rejected the idea of new policy for population control, adding that the focus should be on educating and nurturing women population rather than on indroducing new laws.
Who is Rajiv Kumar?
In September 2017, Kumar, a noted economist, took charge as vice-chairman of Niti Aayog, which acts as a bridge between Union and state governments on economic policy setting. He replaced Arvind Panagariya, who announced his resignation to return to academia. Kumar has previously served as director and chief executive in the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), in the finance ministry and Asian Development Bank. Kumar, who holds DPhil in economics from Oxford University and a PhD from Lucknow University, was also appointed as senior fellow in the Centre for Policy Research and on the boards of various institutions, including the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and Asia in Jakarta, the State Bank of India and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.