PM discusses jobs, farm distress with economists

Last Updated 22 June 2019, 16:12 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday discussed issues surrounding employment, agriculture, water resources, exports, education and health – five key sectors, reforms in which can re-ignite India's slowing economy, with country's top economists.

In all, 40 economists, including former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan, were present in the brainstorming that lasted for about two hours.

Economists gave their suggestions on how to give a fillip to the economic growth which is at a five-year low, and the employment rate which has hit a 45-year low, in order to achieve the $5 trillion growth dream by 2024.

The meeting was also attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State (independent charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation Rao Inderjeet Singh.

Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and senior government officials were also present.

Other economists, who attended the meeting included Soumya Kanti Ghosh from State Bank of India, Bibek Debroy, Chairman Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council; Nilesh Shah, K Srinath, Natrajan Chandrashekharan, Anil Agrawal, T N Ninan, Bodhisattva Ganguly, Vijay Shekhar Sharma AND Surjit Bhalla.

Incidentally, the five areas are likely to be the key focus of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's first Budget to be presented in Parliament on July 5.

Modi has set the target for India's economic growth to reach $5 trillion in the next five years from $2.8 trillion at present.

However, the high-frequency growth indicators such including vehicle sales, electricity consumption, airline passenger traffic, index of industrial production, and export figures have been showing that the growth momentum has slowed.

Last week, Modi's former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian dropped a bombshell when he argued that India's economic growth during that period was actually 4.5% rather than the 7% presented in the official data.

He said that India's headline growth numbers never correlated with the high-frequency data, kick-starting a debate on the reliability of the country's economic data.

The interactive session organised by Niti Aayog on 'Economic Policy - The Road Ahead'.

(Published 22 June 2019, 13:57 IST)

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