As the Modi government nears its second anniversary, industry body Assocham Sunday said “a lot more is required” to be done on tax disputes and concerns remain on huge toxic assets in the banking system.
Calling the NDA government “a work in progress”, the business lobby group gave it an overall performance rating of 7 on a scale of 10.
On the country’s macroeconomic picture, Assocham said it has “certainly been steadied while some bold moves have been made in roads, highways, railways and energy sectors”.
However, it called for an “aggressive” approach to tackle problems faced by the agriculture sector and uplift the country’s vast rural population”.
According to Assocham President Sunil Kanoria, the wish-list includes considerable traction in disinvestment, resolution of taxation disputes, agriculture reforms and most importantly the GST Bill, adding that a “lot more is required as far as tax disputes and litigation are concerned”.
“It would be only fair to call the NDA government as work in progress since it would take time before projects in sectors such as the railways and the highways bear fruit. However, the bigger area of concern, the huge toxic assets of the public sector banks, remains, mainly because of business downturn,” Kanoria said.
“The government and RBI both need to handle the issue of non-performing assets (NPAs) with extreme care and banks should be empowered to take commercial decisions in the case of stressed assets without any fear of facing reprisals on post-mortem of their actions at a much later date.”
He pointed to the non-passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill as one of the sticking points, “which does not appear to be happening any time soon either, given the surcharged political environment and the back-to-back elections in the state assemblies”.
On crucial sectors such as health and education, India Inc does not rate the government’s performance as much as it was expected, as per Assocham’s assessment.
“While Skill India and Start-up India are great moves along with Jan Dhan Yojna, much more is required in providing adequate and quality education. Besides, public expenditure on health sector needs to go up and dependence on insurance alone would not be sufficient,” the chamber stated.