Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 2

THE Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (EAC) headed by Dr C. Rangarajan would be looking at ways to enhance the flow of long-term credit to industry in the wake of the gradual fading away of term lending institutions.

In its first meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the council has also identified agriculture, employment and infrastructure as some of its immediate concerns.

"In the wake of universal banking we would have to see whether there is adequate capital for long-term and short-term for industry," Dr Rangarjan said.

He said that while the council would look at ways to increase agriculture production, it was worried at the slow pace of employment generation especially in the rural areas. "Economic growth has not sufficiently absorbed people from rural areas," he said.

Dr Rangarjan said that the council has decided to provide a report to the Prime Minister every month on the economic development during the preceding month both on the international and the domestic arena. He said the first such report was presented today.

The Prime Minister on his part has asked the council to provide early warning signals on the economy and to bring to his notice any developments that needed his immediate attention. He also asked the council to suggest ways to increase the flow of foreign direct investment into the country.

Dr Singh has also told the council that from time to time he would refer to the council that needed attention. To begin with, he has asked the council to look at the finances of the north-eastern States and Jammu and Kashmir.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 3, 2005)
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