Economic Advisory Council Identifies Cause Of Slowdown, Formulates 10 Priorities

Nitin Gadkari and Rajyavardhan Rathore

Nitin Gadkari and Rajyavardhan Rathore

"We'll come out with implementable solutions for economic problems and present them to the Prime Minister", Council chairman Bibek Debroy told reporters after the meeting.

In the run-up to the meeting, the council chaired by NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy had held a brainstorming session with several stakeholders on Monday. The council, at its meeting, identified 10 key themes around which it will structure its report in the coming months. He said that economic growth, employment and job creation, informal sector and integration of informal sector, fiscal framework, monetary policy, public expenditure and efficiency of public expenditure, institutions of the economic governance, agriculture and animal husbandry were the core issues that were discussed today.

It was also agreed that specific issues papers would be brought out by members to address key concerns, and linkages will be established with key national Institutions.

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Roy, however, acknowledged that economic growth had slowed down in the country and said the Council would examine the causes behind it, "which may be multiple".

"There is a consensus amongst us that there are various reasons that have contributed to slowdown of growth rate".

There have been concerns about the state of the economy ever since the government data showed GDP growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal plummeting to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent, from 7.9 per cent in April-June 2016 and 6.1 per cent of January-March 2017. The five member committee comprising of reputed economists and experts was constituted by the Prime Minister last month to halt the downhill movement of the Indian economy.

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"In a country like India, you can not get good data on employment and jobs from enterprise surveys". Progress on these ten topics will be appraised when the EAC-PM formally meets again in November. When asked whether the government can breach fiscal deficit to provide stimulus to the industry, Debroy said, "There is a consensus (among the members)... that the fiscal consolidation exercise should not be deviated".

The Asian Development Bank too has lowered India's current fiscal growth to 7 per cent from 7.4 per cent, while the RBI cut its economic growth forecast to 6.7 per cent from earlier projection of 7.3 per cent.

On IMF lowering India's growth projections, EAC-PM member Rathin Roy said his experience from the past was on 80 per cent of the occasions, IMF projections were incorrect.

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