Since mining and environmental degradation can now be monitored 24×7 via satellite, clearances should now be faster

The government’s decision to set up a task-force headed by the Cabinet Secretary to see how import-substitution can be increased has, not surprisingly, been criticised by former NITI Aayog deputy chairman Arvind Panagariya. Since a liberal trade regime results in cheaper imports and more competitive exports, he argues, any move that seeks to make imports costlier—as an import-substitution regime usually does—should be avoided. Indeed, as he points out, India’s import-substitution phase after Independence resulted in high import tariffs which, in turn, led to Indian industry becoming high-cost and uncompetitive. In such a situation, unlike in the case of other countries, India could never look at exports as a viable growth strategy. Panagariya argues that, instead of looking at an import-substitution strategy, India would do better to have a viable export-led strategy, and concentrate on removing whatever bottlenecks there are—labour laws, high-cost infrastructure, etc—to ensure this happens. Read more

Courtesy: Financial Express