NEW DELHI: The BJP manifesto unveiled on Monday virtually shut out global retailers from the multi-brand retail segment but vowed to breathe fresh life into the faltering economy by focusing on infrastructure, boosting investment, reforming the tax system and rationalizing interest rates.
Although the principal opposition party shied away from setting specific targets for any economic parameters including economic growth and inflation, it set a detailed roadmap to boost the creaky infrastructure and overall growth.
“Through consistent, long-term policies, we will not just spur the process of economic growth, but also ensure that it is stable and well balanced,” the BJP said in its 42-page manifesto released at the party headquarters by a battery of senior leaders led by Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.
The BJP will focus on a government spending-led infrastructure boom to boost investment and revive growth and confidence. It has lined up a series of projects such as 100 new cities, new ports under its Sagar Mala programme, a national grid and faster approvals for projects for putting the economy on the higher growth trajectory.
While it referred to boost foreign investment in labour intensive and defence sector, it put up the no entry board for global retailers in the vital multi-brand retail segment. This decision puts at risk investment made by some supermarket chains such as Tesco, if BJP is voted to power.
Making its intention clear to clean up the tax system, the party said it would “rationalize and simplify’ the tax regime and push the Goods & Services Tax. While, promising a non-adversarial and conducive tax environment, the BJP blamed the UPA coalition for hurting the investment climate.
“UPA government unleashed ‘tax terrorism’ and ‘uncertainty’, which not only creates anxiety amongst the business class and negatively impacts the investment climate, but also dents the image of the country,” the party manifesto said.
If these steps are meant to spur investment, the BJP’s weapon to increase consumption in the short run hinges largely on taming inflation. The party has promised to rein in raging prices and has detailed an action plan including a price stabilization fund and rationalizing interest rates. When it comes to the twin deficits — fiscal and current — the BJP said it will strictly implement fiscal discipline. Here, the party is thin on specifics.