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Competitiveness is the need of the hour 
(Mon, 23 Sep Pre-Open) 
 
Indian economy has gone off track for quite some time now. While we took a lot of pride in remaining relatively unscathed post the financial crisis in 2008, with the passage of time it is becoming obvious that we were surviving on what was not internal strength but external finance. As India is losing its relative appeal as an investment destination, its vulnerability to external factors is obvious.

Hence, an important lesson to learn is to make India globally competitive and connected so that short term capital flows don't dictate India's growth story. The Government after a long time has taken some initiatives in this direction like opening multiple sectors for global players for long term investment. However, the same has not yielded desired results. This is because such policies are driven more by desperation. The lack of proper planning has led to unclear policies thus watering down the efforts to make country more competitive. At this rate, we don't stand a chance against peer economies like China that offer huge cost advantage across goods and services.

So what is stopping India from realising its full potential? We have failed to capitalize on the immense resource advantage and the young population that our nation has. Because of distortionary policies, corruption, delays and basic infrastructural issues such as with transportation, power, and logistics, we are lagging behind. To reposition India on the global stage, we will need some ground work. These will include incorporation of sound policy framework, huge infrastructure investment and doing away with the trade barriers and bureaucratic hurdles. While we have stood out in some sectors such as software, the industries that employ mass population like agriculture and manufacturing need a major overhaul to become competitive.

To achieve all this, India will need huge participation from the private sector. At the same time, we will need to make sure that the policies are not framed to suit the latter at the cost of national interests.

While the task may seem tough, it is not impossible. We should take a leaf from Singapore that despite not being very resource-rich has carved a space for itself in the global domain. It's time that we value our country's immense resource advantage and put it to good use. Only then we can hope for robust growth with stability.

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