PM Modi's economic council asks govt to stick to fiscal consolidation

Andrew Cummings
October 11, 2017

In its debut meeting, the newly constituted Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) today chalked out the major priorities for accelerating economic growth and employment while accepting that the country is witnessing a slowdown.

The Council acknowledged the slowdown in the Indian economy and said that it will examine the causes.

The other members on the committee include Surjit Bhalla and Rathin Roy, along with Ratan Watal, principal advisor, Niti Aayog, as member secretary.

Instead, at the council's first meeting on Wednesday, members listed 10 policy priorities for the government in the run-up to the presentation of 2018-19 budget.

The Council, which met for the first time today, has identified ten themes, including economic growth and job creations, that need attention.

"There is a consensus among us about the various reasons that have contributed to the slowdown in the growth rate and the Council will provide specific recommendations that can be implemented in near term", the EAC-PM's chairman Bibek Debroy, Niti Aayog's member, told a press briefing after the meeting. The panel of economists and experts was handpicked by PM Narendra Modi last month to find measures to boost economic growth.

On Tuesday, the government has said in a statement that the council members will address "all issues of emergent importance and will engage with a broad spectrum of stakeholders".

"In a country like India, you can not get good data on employment and jobs from enterprise surveys".

The Council wants the Modi government to stick to its fiscal consolidation road map and has suggested that a stimulus to the industry should not be at the cost of fiscal prudence.

Roy's remarks came in response to a question on India losing the world's fastest growing major economy rank in the International Monetary Fund tally after it slashed India's growth projection for 2017 by 0.5 percent to 6.7 percent on Tuesday. "Next few months our focus will be on the preparation of the budget", he said.

The government is considering ways to revive the economy after growth fell to its slowest pace in three years in the three months to June. "The Council views its role as also being a catalyst for action, by both developing and enabling action recommendations through different stakeholders", the Council said in a press statement.

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