Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council identifies 10 areas for focus

Nitin Gadkari and Rajyavardhan Rathore Zee conclave to discuss state of economy today
Nellie Chapman | 11 October, 2017, 20:19

After a gap of three-years, the newly-formed Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) met on Wednesday for the first time and made a decision to complement the Reserve Bank of India on monetary policy ideas along with working on 10-point agenda including the economic growth, job creation, fiscal framework.

A detailed report structured around these 10 aspects of Indian economy will be tabled before PM Modi after being finalised on the basis of consultations from relevant ministries and departments, stated EAC Chairman Bibek Debroy while addressing a press briefing after the meeting.

According to the statement, another key issue recognised is the need for effective tracking of key economic parameters, through possible mechanisms for instituting and economy track monitor, using lead indicators and triggers of action, based on informal assessment and analysis.

The council is mandated to analyze all critical issues, economic or otherwise referred to it by the Prime Minister and advising him thereon.

The PMEAC, which is headed by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy, said that the government should stick to the fiscal consolidation roadmap.

"The themes identified are economic growth: employment and job creation, informal sector and integration: fiscal framework, monetary policy, public expenditure, institutions of economic governance, agriculture and animal husbandry, consumption and production patterns and social sector", he said. Besides Debroy, the council includes NITI Aayog's principal adviser Ratan Watal as its member and economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal as part-time members.

To a query on job losses in the wake of demonetisation and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Debroy said, "This issue was not examined in today's meeting".

Arvind Subramanian focused attention on accelerating economic growth, including investments and exports-using a combination of different policy levers.

Noting that we can get data on unemployment and employment in India is through household surveys, he said the last NSSO household survey was out in 2011-12 and the next results of NSSO household surveys will not be available till 2018. The formation of a team of senior economists and former bureaucrats come at a time when the economy is growing at its slowest pace of 5.7 percent since May 2014.

The majority view in the government is not inclined towards relaxing its fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of gross domestic product for the current financial year.

With the constitution of the Council, the Government has set up a unique independent institutional mechanism. "Today, it was the first formal meeting".