RCEP Retreat and Detained Reforms

India now imports $15 billion worth plastics, $9 billion worth optical instruments, $1.8 billion worth furnishings and mattresses, $1.3 billion worth glassware and $650 million worth toys of which $451 million is from China. The stench of systemic sloth is best represented by the fact that incense sticks (agarbatti) need to be imported.

Global competitiveness rests on economic efficiency at home. Managing the economy is akin to solving the Rubik’s cube puzzle. Just as colours must be aligned on the cube, a host of factors need smart alignment — from opening up sectors to FDI to induct technology and capital, to low interest rates and liberation of the factors of productivity.

The big bugbears in the hurdles to do business include the permission regime, inspector raj and retrospective amendments to tax laws. Such is the magnitude of regulatory cholesterol that entrepreneurs are forced to spend more time on managing regulation and environment than the business.

Agriculture suffers from lack of access to inputs and markets. MSMEs, major exporters, are burdened with labour law rigidities. And yet the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, the model contract farming act and the model labour code are all languishing.

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