PMEAC inducts 3 market veterans as part-time members

Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

The Centre has appointed three economists -- Nilesh Shah of Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund, Neelkanth Mishra of Credit Suisse and V Anantha Nageswaran, dean of IFMR as part-time members of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.

Their appointment comes a month after the PMEAC was reconstituted and two members including Rathin Roy were laid off. The PMEAC now has four outside economists, three from the renowned brokerage firms and a private bank – J P Morgan, Credit Suisse and Kotak Mahindra.

The new appointments come at a time when the government is struggling to sell shares of public sector companies and choppy market conditions are posing a threat. So far, the Centre has been able to garner only a little above Rs 12,357 crore as against the lofty target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore for 2019-20.

Shah, who has been on the several government panels, including a working group on revising the current wholesale price index, is a proponent of strategic disinvestment and feels that a proper strategic sale of government-owned companies, where barring economic control, everything else is divested, can earn the Centre a longtime dividend.

Neelkanth Mishra is co-head of Asia-Pacific Strategy and India Strategist for Credit Suisse. He believes that land sale by the government or lease to private institutions can lead to better land utilization.

V Anantha Nageswaran, Dean of IFMR Graduate School of Business, Krea University, who believes that India’s industries have lacked scale and are bound to create structural problems for the economy going ahead, can suggest ways to come out of the current economic morass.

The government is currently in the midst of a plan to lease properties available with ITDC hotels including Ashoka and Samrat in New Delhi. NITI Aayog has proposed a 60-year lease for Delhi’s first five-star hotel Ashoka to give private players a free hand to redesign and manage the hotel.

In September, the government had reconstituted the PMEAC for two more years under existing Chairman Bibek Debroy and Ratan P Watal as member secretary. Other two part time members are Ashima Goel continues and Sajjid Chinoy of J P Morgan.

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