We, Indians-Bharatwasi- children of Bharat Mata, celebrated independence on August 15, feeling unchained from the fetters of slavery with commitment to serve Bharat Mata by contributing to economy, agriculture and inclusive, sustainable growth, with sense of brotherhood, discipline and unity. A Hindu believes in non-duality- in oneness. The ultimate happiness of human being is reached when it becomes one with the universal consciousness. Hinduism believes in ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ -world is one family.
Rishi Aurobindo said, “I have three madness- love for Mother, love for Nation, love for God.” Swami Vivekananda said, “India will be raised with the power of spirituality and with the flag of unity, peace and love. I believe in patriotism. Before going to USA, I had love for India. After returning, the very dust of India had become holy to me.” Mahatma Gandhi’s heart was spiritual and full of inner strength. He had lived in simplicity. Lal Bahadur Shastri, Former Prime Minister, had refused the cover of umbrella while walking to a dais/forum. Will Bharatwasi follow the same path of feeling the pain of the poor and helping people? Let all awake, arise, work hard with discipline and unity to make our Nation great and prosperous.
The Nation is under the grip of stressed assets/NPAs, freezing further investment, rather there is zero investment. Large corporate houses are under the viral fever of NPAs. Who is responsible and accountable? Are entrepreneurs/promoters alone? Projects have been delayed ranging from five years to twenty years or even more. Thirty six projects are delayed over twenty years. All corporate houses are selling their stressed assets or NPAs. Foreign investors are buyers, may be some uprising new promoters. PM Modi has rightly said on August 15, Independence Day that it takes one year for a satellite take-off plan while projects are delayed. The Nation appeals to him to find people responsible for this delay. Many hospital and five star hotels are held for frequent changes in rules and regulations and so also loss. Promoters had invested in power projects at high cost with agreement for purchase of power by the government at certain rates. Now these agreements are being cancelled for no fault of promoters as power at lower tariffs is available due to lower cost of market. Various state governments are tracking due to legal and moral bindings. Promoters can pay and survive with support as a patient in the ICU.
Revision of minimum wages in a big way will shrink employment and affect the economic viability of many sectors. Government should allow the stressed asset sectors to fix this in minimum ways, of course not below MGNREGA rates. Government should recognise the challenges in multiple sectors. Like inflation and deflation rates, minimum wages should be linked to it.
Insolvency Tribunals should clear the debtors/fixed deposit holders and the outstanding of suppliers as they belong to SMEs and other groups in priority of statutory creditors and banks as their units will be turned into NPA and families of thousands of workers will be affected.
There is a slight ease in tensions between North Korea and USA. Chinese President has urged both countries to restrain from activities, which strain the relation. Due to this the stock market has regained to some extent. Foreign Portfolio Investors’ investments (FPIs) in Indian debt market have crossed $19 billion in 2017. Oaktree Capital Management company Chairperson, Tanvir Gill, believed in India’s future. He advised to invest in defensive stocks such as consumer companies. Global investors have confidence to invest in India despite some external and internal issues. The USA’s inflation remains mild. Federal rates have risen three times since last December. There may be another increase. But still ample liquidity is available at low rates.
A correction in stock markets could now hit the global economy. A 10% fall in global markets could wipe off as much as 0.3% growth. Any correction in India’s stock market is likely to be short-lived as India is a preferred destination for investors.
India has been known for its tourism and hospitality for centuries. Even during the Vedic age, the land was famous for its sacred sites. It's vast and varied topography as well as its cultural heritage make it a perfect travel destination. The Indian government, realising this, is trying to attract both domestic and international tourists, and make India a global tourism hub. The country is expected to rank among the top five business travel destinations globally by 2030. Global travel spending is expected to rise three times by 2030 from $30billion in 2015. The sector is a large employment generator both for semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled workforces. It accounts for about 7.5% of the country’s GDP. It is expected to grow at 16.1% CAGR to reach ` 2796.9 thousand crores by 2022. The government is setting up five special promotional measures for tourism including the special pilgrimages, tourism trains, the launch of Incredible India campaign. Aggressive steps need to be taken to promote this sector, which provides sustainable and inclusive growth. Safety of tourists, especially of women tourists, is a major issue. Travel by roads and trains can be risky and there is the threat of violence against women. Moving/walking in cities is also not always safe. Stringent security measures have to be implemented to make the whole country a safe travel destination.
Indirect tax structure should not make travel very costly for medium to low budget travellers who are large in numbers. Youth-loaded tourist lodges, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars, 5 stars and 7 star hotels should be promoted. Investment in this sector should be given tax benefit- both indirect and direct. Social tourism, conference tourism, medical tourism, educational tourism, heritage and historical tourism, nature and environmental tourism, ecotourism, art exchange tourism, space tourism, sports tourism, forest and mountain expedition tourism - all of these can be potential sources of the government’s revenue, contributing to the nation’s GDP growth and employment.
Terrorists attacks and poor infrastructure are major deterrents to the growth of tourism. Many projects though completed are not getting clearances for assessment. The clearances process has to be fair, objective, and quick. Matters should be resolved by a committee of three comprising one judge, one administration officer, and one entrepreneur with a time limit of one month. This will inspire confidence in the system and bring more investors, which will be a win-win situation for all.
May God bless our country and provide us the strength to take our nation to greater heights of glory.