SMEs are the Fatal Attraction for All Political Parties

While elections are almost set to bring change in the political leadership of the country, all the key parties the  Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) are throwing promises for the industry.

At one hand, AAP has assured simplification of trade procedures, pro-business environment and anti-crony capitalism, but is against FDI in multi-brand retail, India’s oldest party, has promised to boost the country’s industrial output with a focus on small and medium enterprises and promoting a flexible labour policy. On the other hand, BJP has introduced it’s manifesto and emphasized on the SME issues. The BJP’s manifesto promised to have a business friendly government.

BJP through it’s manifesto focused on trade and economy.  In the official statement BJP emphasized the role of SME sector for Indian economic development. “The sector needs to be developed by providing international linkages for exports, availability of credit through a dedicated SME bank, supply chain efficiencies, adoption of IT, support in R&D and innovation, and a policy support for enhancing the mandate to purchase from SME for large scale projects,” says BJP’s manifesto.

However, the 26-page manifesto released by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said the party was “industry friendly” as creation of wealth was essential for overall development of the country but noted that it was against “crony capitalism.”

On the other hand, the Congress Party said that if voters elect its government, it will improve “India’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking from the current 134 to 75 within five years, by streamlining the process for starting a business, getting various permits, easing access to credit, streamlining the tax enforcement systems and various other interventions.”

Kejriwal said his party was pro-business and pro-industries. “We are not against industries or business, but we are against crony capitalism. We believe that unless industries flourish we won’t be able to generate jobs. But we are against the system of contract labour because it violates basic human rights,” he said.

“We will not allow contractual employment for posts that require work to be done throughout the year,” the AAP manifesto also said adding, “strict implementation of minimum wages and strong action would be taken regarding any violations of the law.”

Congress on the other hand said “Our vision is building India as the world leader in manufacturing. We will ensure a 10 per cent growth rate in the manufacturing sector with a special emphasis on small and medium enterprises.”

“We will promote a more flexible labour policy as needed for maintaining competitiveness, while moving towards international labour standards for our workers,” the Congress promised.

“In principle”, the AAP is not against foreign direct investment (FDI). However, it continues to oppose FDI in the multi-brand retail sector, a stand the party had taken during its 49-day rule in Delhi. Barring this, it has little common ground with the BJP.

However, Congress says, “We will promote greater integration with the global economy and encourage Foreign Direct Investment, especially in labour intensive sectors.

The AAP manifesto also promises creating infrastructure with the help of private players and is not “in-principle” against foreign direct investment barring the retail sector, but adds that disinvestment in areas where the government has a monopoly will be a strict no-no.
The Election Manifesto of India’s oldest party has also promised that the Indian SMEs would be facilitated access to world class technology at affordable prices by creating a ‘Patent Pool’.

The Party said, if voted back to power, its government would create 100 new urban clusters around existing small and emerging cities and link them with power and transport facilities.

For about 12 million new youth seeking jobs every year, AAP promises to focus on “creating decent employment and livelihood opportunities for young women and men in honest enterprises across agricultural, manufacturing, or services sector;” while the Congress says it will provide skills training to 10 crore youth and provide them with employment opportunities over the next 5 years.

On simplifying the trade rules, the AAP document said, “With the high cost of compliance, licence raj, lack of transparency and accountability and unwarranted delays, businesses either are unable to take off or even if they do survive, their productivity barely increases and the number of employee actually ends up decreasing over time.”

The Congress on the other hand promises to continue its record of delivering India’s highest growth rates. “We will restore India to 8 per cent plus growth rate within 3 years.”
“We will ensure that India has a globally competitive business and investment friendly environment,” it said.

The Aam Aadmi Party which was in power in the Delhi Cabinet for 49 days said, AAP will simplify rules and regulations, encourage honest compliance and punish heavy defaulters; ensure the return of ‘Black Money’ stashed in foreign banks to India; move towards simple, progressive and stable tax structure; no more routine tax amnesty programs and stringent measures to recover taxes from evaders.

Meanwhile, Congress said we will introduce the Goods and Services Tax Bills and a new Direct Tax Code Bill in Parliament and ensure they are enacted within one year.
We will ensure that the unpredictable risk of retroactive taxation is avoided,” it added.

The party’s manifesto also says it will “move towards a simple, progressive and stable tax structure”, akin to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) the Congress has been pushing since April 2010. The Bill favours concurrent taxing powers for the Centre, as well as states.

Though the AAP manifesto doesn’t point to GST directly, AAP leaders believe GST is a good idea.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is contesting the Lok Sabha elections has promised in its election manifesto simplification of trade procedures, pro-business environment and anti-crony capitalism, but is against FDI in multi-brand retail. The party promised to encourage honest compliance and punish heavy defaulters and simplify the tax regimes.

The 26-page manifesto released by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal detailed its position on a range of key issues like economy, foreign policy, internal security, electoral reforms, defence and Jammu and Kashmir.

In the manifesto, the AAP leader said his party was “industry friendly” as creation of wealth was essential for overall development of the country but noted that it was against “crony capitalism”.

Kejriwal said his party was pro-business and pro-industries. “We are not against industries or business, but we are against crony capitalism. We believe that unless industries flourish we won’t be able to generate jobs. But we are against the system of contract labour because it violates basic human rights,” he said.

He also said he was not against FDI in principle but against FDI in retail.

“We will not allow contractual employment for posts that require work to be done throughout the year,” the manifesto said adding that “Strict implementation of minimum; strong action will be taken regarding any violations of the law.”

The manifesto also promises creating infrastructure with the help of private players and is not “in-principle” against foreign direct investment barring the retail sector, but adds that disinvestment in areas where the government has a monopoly will be a strict no-no.

For about 12 million new youth seeking jobs every year, AAP promises to focus on “creating decent employment and livelihood opportunities for young women and men in honest enterprises across agricultural, manufacturing, or services sector.”

On simplifying the trade rules, the AAP document said, “With the high cost of compliance, licence raj, lack of transparency and accountability and unwarranted delays, businesses either are unable to take off or even if they do survive, their productivity barely increases and the number of employee actually ends up decreasing over time.”

The Aam Aadmi Party which was in power in the Delhi Cabinet for 49 days said, AAP will simplify rules and regulations, encourage honest compliance and punish heavy defaulters; ensure the return of ‘Black Money’ stashed in foreign banks to India; move towards simple, progressive and stable tax structure; no more routine tax amnesty programs and stringent measures to recover taxes from evaders.

Further, the party said, “AAP believes that government should not be in the business of running businesses. Active participation of private sector is required for enterprises to thrive and create jobs.”

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