While the result of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections is still 10 days away, the BJP-led NDA appears to be already preparing its economic agenda for a prospective Narendra Modi-led government.
Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University Arvind Panagariya, pitted to be the next economic advisor should the NDA come to power, said that the focus of the next government should be stabilising the growth rate at 6.5 percent and also focusing on economic reforms that will empower state governments.
In an interview to The Indian Express, Panagariya said it was important that the next PM assure the bureaucracy that he will take responsibility for decisions taken by them.
"Basically upon assuming office, the next Prime Minister must immediately assure bureaucracy that the responsibility for all their legitimate decisions rests with him. Equally important, he must ensure there are no multiple power centres in government," he told The Indian Express.
On being asked about legislative reform and decentralisation of power among states, Panagariya said states should be allowed to amend Central schemes. This will empower states, also paving the way for the closure of the Planning Commission.
"Decentralisation and partnerships with chief ministers are important. But we also need a somewhat more flexible and focused approach to Central assistance to states.... The Centre could give freer hand to the states that are run well while offering greater help to states lagging behind and poorly administered. But in the end, states have to be willing partners, " he said.
While he has denied being a part of the party's economic agenda committee, Panagariya said the apparent lack of interest in the economy by Modi is a strategic move. "He is best positioned to deliver the growth story from among the various aspirants for the PM slot," he told DNA.
But according to an Economic Times report in February this year, BJP officials, including Piyush Goyal, who is a part of the committee that is drafting the party's economic agenda, have been in talks with Panagariya for his inputs on various policy issues.
“We are soliciting ideas from highly placed economists like Arvind Panagariya and I personally have been engaging with him for the last two years. I once went to University of Columbia to spend half a day with him. We need eminent people to give us good ideas and both within and outside the country people are continuously engaging with us,” Goyal told The Economic Times.
"Panagariya has lauded the Gujarat government's performance on various parameters and has generally been leery of the welfare schemes and doles favoured by the Congress-led UPA government," the report states.
Updated Date: May 05, 2014 15:25:14 IST