‘An Indian Economic Survey’ By Ms. Piritta Sorsa, Head of Division, OECD, France
“The Indian economy is consistently growing and I see the growth through all of you”, said Ms. Piritta Sorsa, Head of Division, OECD, France, as she concluded the most anticipated lecture of the Vaarta’16 series.
Held on the 11th of February, 2016 at Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur, Ms. Sorsa’s lecture unveiled some of the key issues and challenges that the Indian economy is currently facing. She supported her assertions through glimpses of the revised version of Indian Economic Survey’14 by OECD. Her analysis and suggestions for the way ahead struck a chord with the students in the audience, who then came up with lots of questions for our esteemed guest.
Ms. Sorsa started the lecture by explaining the current Indian economic scenario through various indicators. She pointed to the fact that the scarcity of jobs is taking a toll on the consistent growth of the economy. The insights into how the current Indian economy is a growing but jobless economy are thought-provoking. Ms. Sorsa commented on the effects of large women employment in informal sectors and the poor job quality on the persistent growth of the economy. She stressed the importance of changes in the labor laws to effectively adapt to the dynamic economic trends.
Ms. Sorsa reiterated the importance of increasing the economic participation for an inclusive growth. The key recommendations to a consistent economic growth included reducing the energy subsidiaries and investing in the infrastructure. The recommendations emphasized the implementation of broad national value-added tax (GST).The bad loans and the extent to which they may hinder a healthy economic growth is presented in an interesting way through alluding to numerous examples.
Ms. Sorsa commended the ‘Make in India’ initiative by Mr. Narendra Modi as she emphasized the importance of manufacturing sector. The fact that the manufacturing sector has not majorly contributed to the GDP is alarming. Ms. Sorsa talked about the barriers to the growth of manufacturing sector in India. The need to work upon the primary barriers like poor infrastructure, static labor laws and tax laws is reiterated.
The women employment and participation in the economic growth has been low in India. Ms. Sorsa rightly pointed to the key factors hindering the women inclusive growth of the economy. The moderately safe society, discriminatory laws, women wage laws and social status are the barriers to an effective women employment and growth strategy. The key recommendations were made to drive the women participation in the economic growth.
The demographically rich and diverse Indian economy has been witnessing a consistent betterment of the health and well-being. Nevertheless, the standards are below the par thus presenting the need to improve the situation. Poor living conditions including low access to sanitation is the major hindrance. Moreover, the public resources invested in the health care are limited. Ms. Sorsa recommended expanding the number of health professionals and up-skill professionals located in the rural areas.
The key to a competitive economy is the business environment in the country. Ms. Sorsa stated that strengthening the governance of state-owned enterprises and reducing public ownership over time would work to enhance the ease of business in India. Imposing clear timelines, rationalizing documentation and implementing single window clearance will improve the infrastructure in the country. Ms. Sorsa stated that the improved infrastructure will improve the business in the country, which in turn is conducive to an effective economic growth. Ms. Sorsa ended the evocative speech by emphasizing the need to work collectively and committedly to improve the Indian economy. The valuable insights shared by Ms. Sorsa should surely go a long way in helping the future managers in working out solutions to the socio-economic problems that hinder our growth story.