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Tuesday 21 January 2020

PM-economists meet: Job, farm, mfg, exports key themes

New Delhi: Job creation, doubling farmers’ income, boosting manufacturing and promoting exports were the key themes that came up for discussion during an interactive session between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and economists.

Briefing reporters about the meeting, Niti Aayog Vice- Chairman Rajiv Kumar said over 40 economists and experts shared insightful views on various aspects relating to the economy and policy-making.

One of the experts, he said, was of the opinion that the government should target only job growth and stressed on high economic expansion for generating employment.

Another expert pointed out that more than 20% educated youth were unemployed.

Kumar further said the Niti Aayog will “very soon” come out with a report of the task force, which was set up to study high frequency data on job creation.

“There is a much better news on employment” contrary to the data provided by labour bureau and the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

Ahead of the Union Budget, Modi brainstormed with economists and experts on the state of the economy as the government looks to revive growth which is estimated to hit a four-year low.

The meeting took place weeks before the NDA-government presents its fifth and final full budget that would look to address pain points in the economy and boosting growth to 7-8%.

The interactive session on the theme, ‘Economic Policy The Road Ahead’ was also attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other ministers and government functionaries.

“Had an extensive interaction with economists and experts on ‘Economic Policy- the Road Ahead’,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

The participants expressed their views on macro-economy, agriculture, rural development, employment, health, education, manufacturing, exports, urban development, infrastructure and connectivity.

Briefing about the meeting, Kumar said experts emphasised that all efforts should be made to ensure doubling of farmers income, which often does not rise with increased production leading to decline in prices.

Kumar, however, refused to answer questions related to budget. When asked about the suggestion regarding long-term capital gains tax, he said the issue relates to budget and did not elaborate.

The Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman said all the participants unanimously supported the National Medical Commission Bill, which has been referred to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny.

The bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India and also proposes allowing practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, practise allopathy after completing a “bridge course”.

Experts gave suggestions on boosting domestic manufacturing and increasing exports.

They also suggested that the proposed bank recapitalisation should be accompanied with banking sector reforms.

Finance Minister Jaitley is scheduled to present the budget on 1 February.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has projected India’s growth to slow to 4-year low of 6.5% in the current fiscal in the backdrop of introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

PTI

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