“The implementation of a single, unified goods and services tax regime in India will have huge positive impact on the Indian economy. Other than an increase in tax revenue and other benefits to the economy, there will be significant gain in respect of consumer welfare. Consumer organisations should be empowered to take forward these positive messages,” said Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International while submitting a memorandum to the Finance Minister of India in the run-up to the 2010-11 Union Budget.
This memorandum has looked at various priority areas and commitments made by the UPA government to take the country forward to a sustained high growth path along with a gradual reduction in carbon intensity. Given the crucial role that small and medium enterprises play in sustaining India’s growth, it recommended that “there should be a special purpose vehicle through public-private partnership mode to enable micro, small and medium enterprises to access easy finance, particularly for acquiring low-carbon technologies.”
The memorandum also recommended that while implementing the proposed National Food Security Act, all existing food-based welfare schemes of the government should converge into a single programme and that should include coarse cereals such as millets. “There should be a mechanism for enhancing the food entitlement of those who are excluded from the existing schemes,” Mehta added.
It lauded the government’s efforts to increase electricity production from renewable sources. It urged the government to reform its procurement policy so as to encourage the production and consumption of products with low carbon intensity. It supported the government’s efforts on disinvestment and said that such an initiative should be a part of an overarching National Competition Policy. It called upon the government to initiate effective labour reforms and related legislation so as to generate a better political buy-in for disinvestment.
CUTS, a non-governmental organisation working on consumer and other public interest issues in India and other countries, is celebrating 25 years of its establishment. It is at the forefront of the consumer movement in India and at the global level. CUTS is conducting evidence-based policy advocacy on regulatory reforms, international trade and development and on governance issues.
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