The annual Economic Survey has put the ball in the government’s court. Now its for the government to decide whether to bite the bullet. As 2009 is going to be an election year, most of these recommendations looks like will be buried for the time being.
Selling a stake in the PSU will be impossible for the UPA government to pursue. The commies are surely going to raise a stink. Also with elections coming up, the commies have got nothing to lose. The 60 hour working week is something that is much necessary. Everyone knows how corrupt our government sector is and how much of work a normal government employee does in a normal day (for examples walk into any public sector bank or any other government office). Its time for someone to hold the whip and make them work, even if it looks like slave drive.
• Complete selling of 5-10% equity in previously identified profit making non-navratnas, must list all unlisted PSUs and sell a minimum of 10% equity to the public.
• Auction all loss-making PSUs that cannot be revived and those where net worth is zero, allow negative bidding in the form of debt write-off.
• Allow a share for foreign equity in all retail trade and 100% foreign equity in foreign-branded, specialized retail chains.
• Raise foreign equity share to 49 per cent as well as allow 51 per cent foreign equity in a special category of insurance companies that provide all types of insurance to rural residents and for all agricultural related activities including agro-processing.
• Increase work week to 60 hours (from 48 hours) as well as set the daily limit to 12 hours to meet seasonal demand through overtime.
• Allow 100% FDI in greenfield private rural-agricultural banks with the caveat that such banks would be free to set up any number of branches in any rural or semi-rural area. These banks should be free to lend to agriculture & allied sectors as well as to any industry located in non-urban area.
• Amend Coal Mines Nationalisation Act to allow regulated private entry into coal mining.
• Phase-out controls in sugar, fertilizer and drugs.
• Sell old oil fields to private sector for application of improved or enhanced oil recovery techniques.
• Implement Open Access in a manner that shifts focus from a distribution company to “wire owners”. The intent is to allow access to electricity pillars to “string” wires and make wire owner accountable for T&D losses. Allow private (corporate) investments in nuclear power.
• Some of the other reform options include allowing public bus transport systems in cities and metros to be run by private companies; introducing a separate section on bankruptcy in the company law; form a public sector rail track company to own new tracks and signals and thereafter allow free entry of private and public-private partnership rail freight companies.