The parliament had passed Special Economic Zone Amendment Bill, 2019. This Amendment allowed “trusts and any entity” to set up units in the SEZ. It aims to boost investment and generate employment in a wide range of economic activities, including in the infrastructure sector. This Bill opens up the possibility for all types of trusts to operate from the SEZs – public charitable trusts, private trusts run by big and small corporate houses, business trusts like the real estate investment trusts and infrastructure investment trusts and port trusts run by the government. The SEZs are of importance to the Indian economy as they are the catalyst for its growth. However, in India, its full potential is not being utilized like that of China. This new step may boost the SEZs' potentials. However, necessary steps must be taken by the government to ensure that there is equal economic growth of the nation and not just in the SEZs.
July 19 of this year marks the 50th anniversary of bank nationalisation. Nationalisation of banks is arguably the biggest structural reform introduced in the financial sector during the post-independence era of Indian history. The second volume of the official history of the Reserve Bank of India describes banks nationalisation as the single-most-important economic policy decision …
To make India a cashless economy, during the Union Budget 2019-20, the Finance Minister had stated that 2% tax deducted at source will be levied on cash withdrawals that exceed Rs.1 crore in a year from the bank account to discourage the practice of making business payments through cash transactions. The government had also said …
The Public Distribution System, India’s landmark food security system, was commenced in 1944 to address the poverty that was affecting the country during that time. It is a vital instrument that ensures the availability of certain essential commodities at an affordable price for the poor. Regardless, this system is often criticized for its inefficiency and corruption. The low-quality food grains from the ration shops are not enough to address the needs of the poor. India has the largest stock of grains in the world besides China. Yet, 21% of the Indian population remains undernourished. The government must address the corruption, inefficiency and low-quality food grains of the PDS for its success.
The Union Budget 2019-20 saw an increased focus on food fortification. India is currently suffering from nutrition insecurity despite the progress made in food production capacity and food security. Regardless of all the poverty alleviation and food security schemes, currently, 38% of children under 5 years are stunted, 36% are underweight and 21% are wasted (too thin for their height). This is a sign of acute under-nutrition. Furthermore, 59% of women and 53% of children are anaemic. The government’s intervention to address this issue is a need of the hour.
Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, 2019 – report that was recently published showed the bleak picture of the hunger and malnutrition amongst children in India. Regardless of all measures taken by the Indian government to ensure economic growth, implementation of numerous government schemes to eradicate poverty and malnutrition, undernourishment remains high among the poor in Indian society. If the situation is not addressed soon, the aspiration to achieve SDG-2 may become far more difficult.
This year, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu had inaugurated the fifth edition of the Aqua Aquaria India in Hyderabad. The theme for this year's event is – ‘Taking Blue Revolution to India's Hinterland'. Blue Revolution is one of the major schemes by the Indian government to promote fishing as an allied activity for the farmers. It is the term used to describe the fast-paced growth of the aquaculture industry in India. Fish is a major source of income for the marginalised section of society. However, its potential is not seen at the ground level. The government must undertake all possible measures to promote the fisheries and aquaculture sectors of the country as it can be an essential tool to help lift the marginalised societies from the shackles of social and economic constraints.
In September 2019, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had made a deep cut in the corporate tax rate from 30% to 22%. India’s combined effective tax rate was among the highest in the world. After the tax cut, the effective tax rate for all domestic companies has been reduced to 25.17%. India’s base corporate tax, due to this move, is now on par with most Asian countries – increasing its competitiveness in the global market. This move comes in response to the brewing problem of the economic slowdown in the country. The cut in the corporate tax rate was seen as a boon by the corporates in the midst of the growing crisis within the Indian economy.