India is world’s fastest growing major economy. The interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that the government has been trying to make it easier to do business. When we become a nation of honest businesses, double digit GDP growth will be a given. But, how can honest businessmen thrive in a corrupt system? And with these “dishonest” businessmen the nation has achieved 7.7% growth between January and March 2018! Indian businessmen have received goodwill overseas. Their achievements are incredible. The government is trying hard to make it easier to do business in India. But, in reality, it is becoming harder and harder as there is an administrative decision-making paralysis, administrative delays, multiple approvals, activism and multiple other factors. Financial closures for projects and businesses are a mirage. The need is to emphasise on reduction or elimination of : (a) fear in “Doing Business”, (b) fear of taking administrative decisions, (c) fear in doing financial closures, i.e., loan sanction. Unfortunately, many wrongdoers go scot-free while the honest suffer the consequences.
Pronouncement of justice cannot be without trial and investigation. Media trials political propaganda and social activism besmear a businessperson's reputation without evidence. Such a person’s life and his family member's lives are being destroyed. It ruins lives, business and reputation. Much more, it tarnishes the image of Bharat, the Nation, as a whole. This damages collective psyche of entrepreneurs, the business community and start-ups. After proper investigation and trials, all offenders and law breakers must be punished as per the order of the court. Before judgement, no person’s life and family should be ruined. Alleged economic offenders must not be treated in the same manner as rapists or terrorists. There should be different bail provisions for varying degrees of offences. A host of reputed bankers' lives are at stake due to so-called alleged irregularity/ offences/ in loan sanction as loans have subsequently become bad.
Business Economics reported that there is surplus capacity in steel, power, cement and in almost all sectors of the industry. Creation of new capacity without fully utilizing existing capacity will render existing assets as well as new assets as stressed assets. National Steel Policy planned to add around 200 million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel capacity by 2030-31 to the existing 130 mtpa capacity, i.e., a total of 330 mtpa. It would require investments of Rs.10 lakh crore to achieve this target. Existing steel companies have large number of stressed assets amounting to around Rs. 2 lakh crore. Steel industry could not compete with the products being imported from China. After having minimum tariff price and higher dumping duties, some products are yielding profits. As a result, many steel companies are now in black.
Bankers are on the warpath. There is a witch-hunt of executives and staff. Businessmen’s positions are like that of domestic servants. They cannot rise up against this. The Indian Bank Association proposes to set up an independent body for investigation into lapses/charges by bankers. USA has started a trade war. The world is moving towards protectionism instead of globalisation. Every country has to protect its own industries and to create employment. USA has imposed high tariffs on certain import items from China and on some products from India and other countries. Now the affected countries are retaliating. If this carries on, it can have serious repercussions on global trade and global GDP growth will slow down. India has proposed to impose additional duties of 25% on 30 items. This was informed to the WTO. USA is India’s largest export market and India enjoys a positive balance of trade with USA. If this trade war escalates, there will be huge ramifications.
Healthcare is the basic need of human beings. It is the barometer of a nation’s growth. Care of human capital is ignored if adequate investments are not made in healthcare. It can become the largest sector in terms of GDP, employment, sustainable growth, happiness, urban and rural growth. India can be the top medical tourism hub. Large numbers of highly reputed Indian doctors have been working in UK, US, Germany and other countries. It is a pity that these sons and daughters of Bharat Mata have ended up serving other countries and not their own motherland because of the better opportunities and facilities they get elsewhere. All Bharatwasis have to reflect on the reasons for this. All have to make an effort to make Bharat a medical tourism hub. This will create sustainable and inclusive growth. It will not have the threat of recession.
To serve around 1.3 billion population, massive healthcare infrastructure is required. The cost of medical treatment in India is only around one-tenth of that of US and other Western European nations. The healthcare industry can attain a size of Rs. 8.6 trillion by FY22. The medical tourism industry has experienced an annual growth is of about 22% to 25% since 2014.
Due to global warming, modern hectic lifestyle, alcohol and drug addiction, polluted air and water, diseases are multiplying. China, South Korea and other countries are having 2,000 to 10,000 beds in the hospital with all modern facilities and modern equipment. But India has very few well equipped and affordable hospitals. People from urban India are now prone to diseases like obesity, high BP, various types of cancer, COPD, depression, hypertension, etc. There is an increased incidence of lifestyle-related diseases such as cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, etc. At the same time, the urban poor and rural India are struggling with communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid, dysentery, etc.
In addition, violence-related trauma and injuries, organ system failure, cancer, immature death, brain degeneration, etc. are commonplace in the rural areas. Violence against women is rampant. India tops the list for being unsafe for women. The culture of easy money without work in the rural areas, thanks to the ill-conceived government welfare programmes, is further vitiating the rural culture.
Private hospitals and doctors are being blamed for negligence and high cost of treatment. What's forgotten are the establishment cost of the hospital, the huge expenses of running hospitals, high cost of medical education, high cost of equipment and other factors.
The public sector hospitals’ condition is pathetic. Government collects crores and crores of money via ESI from workmen and employers. The services of the ESI hospitals are pathetic. They are dens of corruption. Workmen and employees do not want to get treated in these hospitals but use them for certain benefits. The government is working to increase the ESI entitlement on salary or wages from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 a month. Hospitals are located at a distance. Workmen and employees are unable to use the facilities. Treatments are not commensurate to the illness. Governments have large idle funds due to this. It is better to issue medical insurance coverage to the workmen and employees to get the best treatment in the nearby hospitals.
Despite surplus capacity in all sectors and bumper agriculture products, inflationary trend and unemployment is due to unstable policies, high taxes, high rate of interest, administrative indecisions and delay, fear psychosis in all sections of the people. Productive assets are becoming stressed assets due to non-practical and non-visionary approach and various unpractical high slabs of GST, which are being frequently revised beyond the understanding of common people.
The proposal to increase LIC’s investment in a stressed entity like the IDBI Bank would certainly dent the bonus-earning of insurance policy holders. As it is, LIC is forced to invest in PSU entities whenever the so-called disinvestment drives do not gather much interest from investors. It is tantamount to taking away what has been projected or promised to policy holders. LIC has around 290 million policyholders. Thus, a substantial portion of the population’s saving is with LIC. Arm-twisting LIC to salvage government’s disinvestment goals and now to address the stressed assets problem is absolutely unfair. When people have entrusted LIC to take care of their savings, forcing LIC to serve government’s goals is tantamount to abusing people’s trust.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol and drug addiction have been affecting more than 20% population. Smoking can lead to cancer. Even young boys and girls are smoking and drinking and are addicted to drugs. Hospitals and rehabilitation centres have been reporting increasing footfalls of both men and women. Situation is becoming worse. Fatal road accidents are happening under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Bihar government has banned the production, distribution and consumption of alcohol. Bharat is a welfare state. The production, distribution and consumption of alcohol and other addictive substances must be banned throughout the country. Production and consumption of tobacco should also be banned. It is essential to promote the preventive healthcare. Bharat must prioritise universal health coverage and preventive healthcare.
May our country march into a new future free of addictions, free of fear, free of prejudices and full of opportunities and blooming health. Be all be happy and healthy.