India to see ‘big-bang’ reforms in Modi’s second term

In the first 100 days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term, a slew of ‘big-bang’ economic reforms that should please foreign investors are likely to be pursued, according to a top official at the government’s main think tank.

The reforms will include changes in labour laws, privatisation moves, and creation of land banks for new industrial development, said Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India), who reports directly to Modi.

The reforms will include changes in labour laws, privatisation moves, and creation of land banks for new industrial development, said Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India), who reports directly to Modi.

“They (foreign investors) will have reasons to be happy. You will see a slew of reforms I can assure you of that. We are going to pretty much hit the ground running,” Kumar said in an interview. Modi is chairman of the think tank.

Niti Aayog, which now acts as the main centre for policy making and for driving new ideas, was founded four years back when Modi scrapped the 65-year old planning commission, saying that India was stifled with Soviet-style bureaucracy.

Kumar said reforms in India’s complicated labour laws will see the light of day as early as the next parliamentary session in July, when the government will place a new bill before the lower house for approval. It will aim to combine 44 central laws into four codes – wages, industrial relations, social security and welfare, and the fourth – occupational safety, health and working conditions.

This should help companies avoid getting embroiled in a series of complicated disputes with their workers and officials that involve regulations set by authorities at different levels of government and can lead to long, drawn-out adjudication in various parts of the legal system.

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