The Bharatiya Janata Party, in its election manifesto released on Monday, has said it will take steps to keep interest rates in sync with fiscal policies, which could potentially encroach upon the monetary policy autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India.
The BJP is aiming at giving a push to manufacturing and retail consumption, and it sees a way in bringing about that effect through possible direct influence over the central bank’s monetary policy.
“Take steps for interest rate rationalisation and have a clear tax policy to remove uncertainty and create investor confidence,” said the action point of the BJP manifesto.
The other major takeaway from the party document is that there is no mention of subsidies in the 42-page document. It has instead sought to universalise public services such as healthcare and secondary education and vocational training as well as offer housing to all families.
“We will roll out a massive low cost housing programme to ensure that by the time the nation completes 75 years of its Independence, every family will have a pucca house of its own,” said the BJP manifesto, a promise also taken up by its principal rival, the Congress party. While the manifesto remains soft on major issues that the BJP has been consistently raising in the Parliament — food security, environment clearances, rising subsidy bill, the manifesto has raised the issue of land acquisition and called for a ‘National Land Use Policy’.
It says the policy will work out measures for the scientific acquisition of non-cultivable land while protecting the interests of the farmers. It has also called for setting up a National Land Use Authority to monitor the regulate and facilitate land management.
The party manifesto has also proposed to amend the APMC. Several Congress-led state governments have already amended the Act to de-list fruits and vegetables from its ambit, to facilitate procurement by big retailers as these states opened their doors to FDI in multi-brand retail.
While the Gujarat government has promoted the cultivation of genetically engineered Bt cotton, the party in its manifesto has taken a contrary stance. The BJP promised that it will not allow genetically modified foods without full scientific evaluation on its long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers.
As expected, the BJP has maintained its stance of barring FDI in multi-brand retail but has promised to enhance FDI in all other sectors including defence production.
The principal opposition party has also taken on the Congress-led UPA on issues of price rise and job creation which it has included in its agenda of “Attend the Imminent”. It has promised reining in inflation as its immediate task through measures including unbundling the Food Corporation of India and setting up a Price Stabilisation Fund.
Other measures include launching of a Diamond Quadrilateral project, a high speed bullet train network, a 100 new cities and a “Team India (that) shall not be limited to the Prime Minister led team sitting in Delhi, but will also include Chief Ministers and other functionaries as equal partners”.