Rajasthan doing well in solar power: Bibek Debroy

Jaipur, Oct 28: Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje may be going all out for her investment summit next month but one of her former economic advisors Bibek Debroy is not very perked up about the Rs 3 crore projected investments from the meet in the state.

Debroy, who was here to attend the Shiv Charan Mathur Policy Research Institute’s Memorial Lecture, said signing the MOUs is just the first step and it takes time for any project to finally take off. He said it is very difficult for 100% conversion of all MOUs signed and the investments projected.
He added: “Even if 40% conversions of the projects take place, the Resurgent Rajasthan summit should be considered successful.” But he said his focus in Rajasthan was not much on the upcoming summit but there were other areas like solar power in which the state was doing extremely well.

From March 2015 till October 2015, Rajasthan has signed at least 70 MOUs, which has assured more than Rs one lakh crore investment.

Debroy, who is also a full-time Niti Aayog member, was, however, was hopeful about the positive developments in the field of solar power, Bhamashah card. Debroy said: “It is a unique scheme for financial inclusion and women empowerment, which also aims to include 100 services under the Bhamashah platform.”

On the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that seeks to replace all indirect taxes with a uniform levy, he said it was better to wait than bring in the Bill hurriedly. There was no harm in waiting till April 2017.

About revival or fate of sick Public Sector Undertakings, Debroy said PSUs should not have existed in the first place. A commercial environment and good efficiency indicators could have made the revival possible. The only way to revive these PSUs is to change the composition of equity, i.e privatization i.e sale of equity of more than 50 %.”
He added: “Privatisation is very difficult, only strategic sale or divestment is the answer to make the PSUs work to the full potential.”

In his keynote address on Better Governance and Delivery of Public Services, he said that India was overtly centralized and the need of the day was decentralization. He said the Tax-GDP ratio of India was around 17-18% and 14% of the GDP was given out as subsidies, so the government of the day has minimal resources to carry out the actual work of governance.
He dealt made a clear distinction between government and governance , saying governance was much more participatory while government was an institutional form for carrying the policies through governance. Referring to the severe funds crunch owing to limited financial resources at its disposal, he advocated the participation of private sector in the delivery of public services.
Lastly about Arun Shourie’s comment about Narendra Modi government being the same UPA government plus a cow, Debroy was non-committal and said: “Everyone is allowed to have his own thinking.”

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