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The slowdown is official; PM’s economy team picks 10 key areas to work on

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018

Bibek Debroy, EAC Chairman

EAC Chairman Bibek Debroy (file pic)

Focus on job creation, public spending, farm sector top six-month action plan

Acknowledging a slowdown in the country, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) today identified 10 areas for accelerating growth over the next six months. Monetary policy, job creation, public expenditure, agriculture and animal husbandry top the focus areas.

At the EAC’s first formal meeting here on Wednesday, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian made a presentation on boosting economic growth using a combination of policy levers.

Addressing the media after the meeting, EAC Chairman Bibek Debroy, who is also a Member of the NITI Aayog, said: “There is consensus amongst us (members of the EAC) that various reasons have contributed to the slowdown of growth rate. Our entire thrust would be on implementable decisions. Our views on the ten identified areas would be on specific things that you can change tomorrow.”

The Council will keep in mind the forthcoming Union Budget, he added. In the first quarter of the current fiscal, GDP growth decelerated to 5.7 per cent, the lowest since the Narendra Modi government took office in 2014.

Debroy said that the five members of the EAC will take the responsibility of monitoring the ten actionable areas, which have, however, not been prioritised, yet. Other members in the EAC include economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal, and Member-Secretary Ratan P Watal. Progress would be discussed at the next meeting of the EAC, in November.

Refusing to let on if Modi had referred certain issues to the EAC, Debroy said that a detailed report, which will be handed over to the Prime Minister, will be structured around the 10 areas and views would be formulated after consultations with all Ministries and Departments, including the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India.

On the IMF, in its October projections, slashing India’s growth forecast for 2017-18 to 6.7 per cent from 7.2 per cent in April, Rathin Roy, who is also Director of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, said the multilateral body’s estimates have turned out wrong 80 per cent of the time.

Published on October 11, 2017

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