Three-year Action Agenda (2017-18 to 2019-20) – Summary


  • No serious dent into poverty could be made through redistribution alone. During the first four decades, growth remained below 4%. 1991 reforms placed India first on a 6% growth trajectory and then, beginning in 2003-04, on an 8% plus trajectory.
  • A dip in the growth rate to 5.6% in 2012-13 → corrective action in 2014, followed by sustained policy reforms, has helped the economy sustain 7% plus growth.
  • This 3-year Agenda is a part of a longer-term Fifteen-year Vision and Seven-year Strategy.
  • Revenue & Expenditure – The fiscal deficit has been cut from 4.5% of the GDP in 2013-14 to 3.5% in 2016-17. Under the proposed fiscal framework, the fiscal deficit is to be reduced to its eventual target of 3% of the GDP under the FRBM framework by 2018-19.
    • The Action Agenda proposes by allocating more to high-priority sectors. Under the proposed agenda, the share of non-developmental revenue expenditure would decline. The share of capital expenditure (on education, health, agriculture, rural development, defense, railways, roads), which is more likely to promote development, would rise significantly.

Economic Transformations in Major Sectors

Agriculture: Doubling Farmers’ Incomes

  • It includes numerous measures to raise farm productivity, bring remunerative prices to farmers, put farmers’ land to productive usage when they are not able to farm it themselves and improve the implementation of relief measures.
  • An ambitious agenda for empowering the rural population through improved road and digital connectivity, access to clean energy, financial inclusion and “Housing for All.”
  • Raise farm productivity – Efficiently using inputs, introducing new technologies and shifting from low to high value commodities. We need to expand the scope of irrigation to increase crop intensity, improve access to irrigation, enhance the seed replacement rate and encourage the balanced use of fertilizers. Precision farming and related new technologies.
  • APMC Reforms – Farmers should get genuine rights for direct sales to buyers of all commodities, potential buyers should get the rights to buy produce directly from farmers, entry of private agricultural markets should be free and an effective legal framework for contract farming should be established.
  • MSP – Reduce distortions in the MSP system by introducing “Price Deficiency Payment.” While MSP may still be used for need-based procurement, under the deficiency payments system, a subsidy may be provided to farmers on other targeted produce, contingent on prices falling below an MSP-linked threshold.
  • Land reforms – The introduction of a modern land-leasing law that balances and protects the rights of the tenant and landowners would be a potential solution to the problem of more land being left fallow because they are too small to support a family of 5 (farmers hesitate to lease the land they leave behind due to stringent tenancy laws).
  • Crop Insurance – Fasal Bima Yojna reforms – Capping the subsidy amount per farm household to a fixed amount and charging the full premium for additional insurance would make the scheme more equitable.


Trade, Industry and Services: Creating Well-Paid Jobs

  • Despite claims of “Jobless growth”. The unemployment rate has consistently remained between 5% and 8% for the last 3 decades, according to the Employment Unemployment Surveys (EUS) of NSSO.
  • The more serious problem, instead, is severe underemployment. The workforce is overwhelmingly stuck in low-productivity, low-wage jobs.
  • Facts illustrating the above point – 49% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. But agriculture contributes only 17% of India’s GDP at current prices; In 2010-11, firms with less than 20 workers employed 72% of India’s manufacturing workforce but contributed only 12% of manufacturing output; In services, largest enterprises accounted for 40% of services output but only employed 2% of services workers.
  • Way forward – The manufacturing sector and the ability to compete in the vast global marketplace hold the key to the creation of well-paid jobs for low and semi-skilled The “Make in India” campaign needs to succeed by manufacturing for global markets.
  • Precautions – A focus on the domestic market through an import-substitution strategy, would give rise to a group of relatively small firms behind a high wall of protection that won’t be able to compete in the world marke A case in point is the electronic industry in India.
  • Promising signs – Today, with Chinese wages rising due to an ageing workforce, many large-scale firms in labour-intensive sectors currently manufacturing in that country are looking for lower-wage locations. This is an opportune time for adopting a manufactures- and exports-based strategy.
  • An exports-based strategy – Creation of a handful of Coastal Employment Zones, which may attract multinational firms in labour-intensive sectors from China to India. This will also allow ancillary industries to grow.
  • Walking on two legs – Information technology-enabled services (ITES) and pharmaceuticals have been successful. The Financial Sector has acquired a modern character. Thus India walks with manufacturing and Services both.

Regional Development

  • The Action Agenda spells out how we can facilitate urbanization in the country.
  • Urban development – Key challenges faced by the urban sector include affordable housing, infrastructure development, public transport, promotion of Swachh Bharat, reform of urban land markets and waste management.
    • Ongoing schemes – Affordable Housing (PMAY – two Crore houses for urban poor envisaged by 2020 includes EWS, LIG); AMRUT to provide hard infrastructure for universal coverage of piped drinking
      water, sewerage and green spaces and parks is being implemented through ULBs; Developing Smart Cities (100 chosen) aims at driving economic growth and improving the quality of life through area based development and city-level smart solutions like parking facilities, smart metering of water, non-motorised transport facilities like cycle tracks, intelligent traffic management system, reuse of waste water etc.; SBM (Urban) – aims to eliminate open defecation, manual scavenging, introduce modern and scientific solid waste management, induce behavioural change; Public Transport (focus on Public transport); Livelihood for the Urban Poor (DAY-NULM).
    • Suggestions – Scarcity of horizontal spaces can be tackled by constructing taller buildings; promote rental housing; speed up the process of cleaning up municipal solid waste by setting up waste to energy plants.
  • Rural areas – A large part of India’s population resides in rural areas. The challenges in the rural areas include creating jobs such that some agricultural workers could shift to non-farm sectors, skill development, accessing education and health facilities, infrastructure, local governance, drinking water and sanitation and financial inclusion.
    • How? – Convergence Between Schemes and Transparency in Implementation; Skill Development and Employment Generation; Housing; Drinking water and Sanitation; Energy; Roads; Digital Connectivity and Literacy; Rurban Growth Clusters; Strengthening local governance.
  • Bridging regional disparity – Focus on North Eastern region, coastal areas, islands, North Himalayan states and desert and drought prone areas.

Growth enablers – Infrastructure

  • Enhancing the contribution of infrastructure, digital connectivity, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), energy, science and technology and creation of an effective innovation ecosystem.

Transport & Connectivity

  • Challenges – The transport network is not planned holistically (lack of interconnectedness, inter-modal connectivity); Maintenance is poor; The capacity of physical transport infrastructure is limited (congestion is common); modal imbalances (roads and railways are overburdened; inland waterways are underutilised); Transport safety remains poor; The transport sector remains highly dependent on conventional sources of energy.
  • Ongoing schemes – The National Highways Development Program (NHDP), the Bharatmala Project focus on highway construction; PMGSY and Bharat Nirman focus on rural roads.
  • Road connectivity & mobility – Increase connectivity, especially in Rural India and with Ports by expanding the road network; Encourage private investment in Public transport; Increase coverage of toll collection in National and State Highways.
  • Railways – Freight segment (rationalise fares); Connectivity (expansion, electrification, develop semi high-speed trains to enhance connectivity); Service delivery and efficiency (punctuality, quality); Rail safety.
  • Shipping & Ports – inadequate capacity of the Indian coastal fleet and the need for growth in containerization; eliminate discriminatory provisions for Indian vessels (foreign vessels are exempt from duty on bunker fuel while Indian vessels; seafarers aboard Indian flag vessels are subject to Indian income tax while those working aboard foreign vessels are not); creating more deep-water ports; Facilitate minor/non-major port connectivity to hinterland areas.
  • Inland waterways – Develop measures for year-round navigation (development of adequate depth); utilizing a single vessel for both inland and coastal waters, lowers transport costs but we have differences in regulations; Develop inland waterways transport to facilitate movement of goods to neighbouring countries and the Northeast.
  • Civil Aviation – Align excise duties on ATF to international levels to bring down its cost; Adopt a consistent model for tariff determination (currently PPP airports impose higher tariffs than Public airports); Include provisions for domestic hub development while auctioning traffic rights.


  • Increasing Coal Production and Improving the Efficiency of its Distribution – set up a Coal Regulator for fostering competition; explore untapped coal bearing areas; open the coal-mining sector for commercial mining; leverage the critical role of railways in coal distribution; reduce the use of low quality coal.
  • Increasing electricity generation and streamlining transmission and distribution.
  • Augmenting Supply of Oil and Gas, Through Domestic Exploration and Production (E&P) as well as Overseas Acreages.
  • Expanding the Installation, Generation and Distribution of Renewable energy.

Social Sector

  • Higher Education Action Agenda – Designation of World Class Universities; Autonomy for top colleges and universities; Reform of the regulatory system – A tiered system of universities; Establish system of project/ researcher specific research grants; Increased focus on vocational and profession led education.



Sangam Literature

The Sangam Literature is composed of the following:

  1. Earliest Tamil Works
  2. ETTUTOGAI (8 anthologies by various poets)
  3. PATTUPATTU (10 Idylls, longer than the ETTUTOGAI)
  4. PADINENKILKANAKKU (18 minor works, shorter than ETTUTOGAI and PATTUPATTU)
  5. The 3 Epics


 Earliest Tamil Works

Books                                                           Authors

Agatiyam                                         Agatiyar/ Augastya
Tolkappiyam                                              Tolkappiyaar
Pannirupdalam                     12 disciples of Augastya
Kakkipadiniyam                                    Kakkipadiniyar


Books                                                        Authors                                                         Details

Ainagurunuru                                         Kudalur Kizhar                                           500 erotic poems
Narrnai                                                                –                                             400 short poems on love
Agnanuru                                                  Rudrasharman                                            400 love poems
Kurunttogai                                                    –                                                               400 love poems
Purananuru                                                     –                                           400 poems praising kings
Kallitogai                                                         –                                                               150 love poems
Paripadal                                                            –                                                24 poems praising Gods
Padirupattu                                                       –                         8 short poems praising Chera kings



Books                                                           Authors

Muruguruppadde                                      Nakkirar (devoted to Murugan)
Sirupaanrupappadde                                                          Nattanaar
Perunbanrupappadde                                                     Mangudi Marudam
Pattinppaplai                                                                      Kannan


Books                                                        Authors                                                         Details

Tirukkural                                         Thiruvalluvar                                           Bible/Gita of Tamil land
Palamoli                                            Manrurai Aiyyar                                            Morals by Proverbs    Naladiyar                                                         –                                                    High ethical conduct
Aacharkkovai                                                   –                            Daily routine of an orthodox Hindu

The 3 Epics

  • Shilpadigram – Illango Vadigalsilappadikaram
  • Manimegalai – Sitle Sattnaar
  • Shivag Sindamani – Tirukktadevar