The Saudi Vision 2030 along with the National Transformation Programme (NTP), is a pragmatic, flexible, normal, long-term policy prescription and a political exercise to overcome the myriad challenges which the kingdom is facing over a considerable period of time and is coined by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman popularly known as (MBS). It is very much similar to other Gulf nations visions like
- Qatar has National Vision 2020
- Bahrain, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi have their Vision 2030
- Oman has Vision 2020
- Iran has its own version of Vision 2025.
Que :- What these visions are all about ?
Ans :- These visions central idea is to move from single commodity oil-based economy to the diversification of economy in which reliance on oil as source of revenue would progressively decline.
Que :- What have impacted them so hard that they wanna do the diversification of their economy ?
- Steady downslide of international oil prices since 2014 — which dipped lowest to the $35 per barrel in early 2016.
- Hard reality of the US oil and shell gas.
- Growing fiscal deficit, which even endangers the possibility of devaluation of Riyal
- Government taxation & Fees
- Indigenization of workforce
Which leaves them with no alternative but to diversify the source of revenue generation.
The Saudi Vision 2030 aims at :-
- Generating 800 billion-3 trillion US Dollar revenue through combination of anti-corruption drive
- Infrastructure development
- New forms of taxation, including expat levy, disinvestment of state enterprises, 5% share of ARAMCO
- Development of tourism and entertainment
- Modernisation of educational system
- Attracting global investment and increasing the role of private capital in the national economy.
A idea of the Saudi Vision 2030 comes from UAE economic and political model of governance that combines the element of pluralism, economic diversification and religious tolerance. Seen in conjunction with the UAE, the Saudi Vision 2030 has four interrelated components :-
(i) a limited, liberal restructuring of economic, political and social life of the kingdom
(ii) intensifying anti-terrorism/Islamist radicalism
(iii) aggressive containment of Iranian influence
(iv) assertion of Saudi Arabia as a regional power.
The pursuit of these goals has led MBS to combine the hard and soft power.
Challenges for MBS in his reformist mission :-
- Modernise the legal structure of governance
- Bring the transparency
- To Transform the image of Saudi Arabia from a “medieval conservative kingdom” to “enlightened limited monarchy”
However, MBS significant steps has been taken in this direction in the form of Vision 2030. Therefore, International community — including the USA, the UK and other European nations, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai — has welcomed MBS’ liberalising vision of Islam & also gained support from Saudi youth.
What India needs to do ?
- Need to support to those policy measures of MBS that has democratic content and contributes in fight against global terrorism.
- Iran is important for India in many respects, but New Delhi’s needs to rethink of relationship with the UAE and Saudi Arabia which far outweighs Iran from the point of view of trade, remittances, oil, gas, investment and counter-terrorism cooperation.
- India must be seen actively building relationship and investing symbolically in the UAE and Saudi Arabia such as support for democratic measures at a time when Pakistan is loosing its charm in the region.