Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said India should develop its economy on the basis of its own values and not ape systems in place in other countries. “We will have to do development based on our own models. We should borrow good systems from outside but should think of policies on our own,” he said. Bhagwat was speaking at the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday evening at the launch of the book “History of Indian Economy: Some Glimpses”, published by Vivek Samuh, an affiliate of the RSS.
Bhagwat also touched upon the need for better management of the ailing national carrier Air India. “People say that Air India has a deficit of Rs 55,000 crore, but it also has landing rights, owns aircraft and trained staff. If you count all these assets, it has no deficit. Is it a case of Air India not running well or not being run well? If it isn’t being run well, give it to someone who will run it well,” he remarked. Earlier this month, the central government announced plans to sell its stake in the debt-ridden airline.
He said that economic policy must focus on increasing employment, rein in spiraling costs, increase production and exports and reduce imports. Bhagwat added that a completely cashless economy would not be possible in the Indian context. “We cannot go completely cash less. We can do less cash instead. Two per cent of the country is still outside the system. We will need to have some cash in the system.”
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, who was the chief guest at the book launch, also spoke of the need to shape the country’s economic policy rooted in the Indian context. “If you shape policy without understanding history, you will not find the right way. History is the like the anchor that keeps you from drifting away in a storm,” he said.
He also spoke of the need for India to regain its position of several centuries before when it boasted a formidable share of global trade. “We were called the sone ki chidiya (golden sparrow). We are not like that today. If we say that we want to develop an India that is clean, strong and self-reliant, we can develop a new India by 2022,” he said.
Kumar said India should create capital keeping Indian values in mind, unlike the West, which aims at only “profit maximisation”. “I don’t know how to do it. But the economy is a point where it will go straight up. The economy was on a downturn in 2014 when the government was elected. There was policy paralysis. It took three-and-a-half years to reverse it and introduce structural reforms. In 2018, we will definitely have 7.5 per cent growth,” he said. The Niti Aayog, Kumar added, is working on a development agenda that aims to achieve a growth of 8.5 per cent by 2022.