The BJP, looking to return to power after 10 years, will unveil a broad plan to steer the economy out of its current slump by raising new China-style electronic manufacturing hubs and open up India’s lucrative defence sector substantially to the private sector. It also promises to overhaul the country’s tax structure, a reform that the UPA failed to pull off despite having it in its agenda.
The BJP manifesto could also contain a series of measures to allocate natural resources transparently, a source of big-ticket corruption scandals during the UPA regime.
The manifesto, likely to be unveiled in the next few days, has been drafted by a team headed by senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, assisted by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and former Bihar deputy chief minister, Sushil Modi among others.
It will also possibly unveil steps to bring back illegal money stashed away in overseas tax havens, a pet economic agenda of the BJP, sources told HT.
The party’s plans also include specific focus on skill enhancement to enable employability of millions of young people who join the queue of job hopefuls every year.
For instance, BJP will pitch for fiscal incentives to colleges that will spur them to offer courses in vocational and polytechnic courses. It will also call for a change in the curriculum of technical courses and introduce financial literacy and entrepreneurship modules at the school level, sources said.
A plan to introduce ‘Floating Warrant’ to get illegal money stashed in foreign countries known as John Doe Lawsuit in the USA that enables securing information from overseas bank accounts, is likely to feature among the party’s set of poll promises to tackle black money, sources said.
For the manufacturing sector, set clock its lowest growth since 1991, BJP’s plan will likely include tax breaks for electronic production hubs. It also plans to do away with the need for multiple registrations to set up an industrial unit.
Another important focus will be raising the excise tax exemption limit for small and medium enterprises from the current Rs 1.5 crore to around Rs 5 crore to goad small firms to invest in employment intensive activities, sources said.
A major change in the role and structure of the Planning Commission can also be expected if the BJP comes to power with focus on medium and long-term targets up to 2050 rather than the current practice of setting just five year targets.