During the pre-budget consultations with social sector related groups convened by the Finance Ministry, CUTS International, an independent public policy research and advocacy organisation, headquartered in Jaipur, called for equal emphasis on producer and consumer welfare in the forthcoming budget.
Highlighting the positive relation between producer welfare and sustainable growth, it recommended adoption of a comprehensive rural reform package, focusing on rural farm and non-farm economy. This would include digitizing land records, reforming agriculture input, output and credit subsidies by benefiting from the experience of direct benefit transfer programme; introduction of graduation approach for sustainable increase in income; protecting intellectual property in agriculture sector; foster research and innovation with use of high yield seed varieties; focused attention on horticulture, improving infrastructure, providing alternate employment opportunities, etc.
The Make in India programme must not be limited to ‘Make in Urban India and Rural India’ must be given equal importance, if not more. The Rural Reform Package could be designed and marketed on the lines of, and within the broad scope of Make in India.
Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International in his opening remarks said ‘the absence of RIA in policy framework in India results in formulation of bunch of avoidable regulations’, Mehta added that CUTS has contributed to the erstwhile Planning Commission’s Working Group on Business Regulatory Reforms with a recommendation on impact assessment of existing and proposed regulations.
Consumer welfare is equally important for sustainable development, especially in light of ordinary consumers increasingly being ripped off by dishonest investment businesses. The risk to financial consumers has augmented with increased use of technology and electronic commerce.