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Five Transformative strategies that will shape India.

The Indian economy is poised to become the third largest in the world by the end of the decade. Going ahead, five key trends are likely to shape the coming decade. The budget has taken cognisance of these trends shaping India and unveiled transformative strategies.

The benefits offered by cities in terms of agglomeration and aggregation are well known. By 2050, another 500 million more people in India are estimated to be living in urban areas. Without sustainable urbanisation, cities are likely to fall prey to congestion and pollution, rather than bringing the agglomeration benefits.

The cities of the future must be designed around the principles of transit-oriented development, with public transport at their core. Urban planning must include elements such as bus rapid transit, light rapid transit, mass rapid transit and non-motorised transit systems. Relooking floor space index (FSI) norms will enable vertical, rather than horizontal, growth of our cities.

Principles of circular economy to address water supply are also crucial for the new urbanisation model. Urbanisation will have to be a key driver of India's growth. Recognising this, the budget introduced the Urban Infrastructure Development Fund of an annual ₹10,000 crore.

Continued focus on building infrastructure through expanding capex is imperative. For the second successive year, the budget has raised capex by 33%, bringing it to ₹10 lakh crore. The infrastructure being built will connect people and markets and reduce the cost of logistics. Going ahead, the focus may be on unlocking investments through public-private partnership (PPP) mode and asset monetisation. Investments in infrastructure through PPP have slowed down, and this is an apt time to rejuvenate ..

With global value chains being realigned, investing in infrastructure will make India an attractive option for global manufacturing. Reviving animal spirits of the private sector will be critical for long-term growth. Continuing to work on next-generation reforms and ease of doing business at the state level are the next avenues we must pursue. Again, the budget delivers on this front through making PAN cards universal identifiers, a unified filing process and an Entity DigiLocker.

India's digitisation and technological push means we are now generating vast amounts of data. For instance, through goods and services tax (GST), nearly 25 lakh eWay bills were generated daily in December 2022. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) processes millions of payments every day. Through CoWin, India administered 2 billion-plus vaccine doses. Since the digitisation of governance, vast amounts of administrative data are also being generated, in real time.

Digital technologies such as AI and machine learning (ML) can enable us to technologically leapfrog. With both data and technology available, this is an apt time to take evidence-backed public policy to the next level. The budget announced the establishment of three centres of excellence (CoE) for AI, along with a National Data Governance Framework Policy. The initiatives will make India a data-intelligent country.

National competitiveness is also determined by how sustainable and green an economy is. India has already emerged as a leader in climate action. It is the only G20 country in the top 10 countries in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) rankings.

GoI has taken transformative initiatives in the spheres of renewable energy, electric mobility and green hydrogen. Sustainable lifestyles are being given a fillip through Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment). India recognises that growth cannot come at the expense of sustainability any more. It will be the first country to industrialise without carbonising. The budget has committed ₹35,000 crore towards capital investments, furthering India's energy transition and net-zero objectives.

Source: The economic times