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PM Modi interacts with 40 economists amid slowing economy, rising unemployment

N Chandrasekaran (Chairman, Tata Sons), T V Narendran (Global CEO and MD, Tata Steel), Anil Agarwal (Chairman, Vedanta Resources), Sanjiv Puri (Chairman and MD, ITC), and Vijay Shekhar Sharma (CEO, Paytm) were among the industry leaders whose opinions were sought in the meeting. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 22, 2019 9:24:08 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a meeting with leading economists on Saturday.

With less than a fortnight to go for the presentation of the Union Budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday interacted with over 40 economists and industry experts on the current economic situation in a session organised by Niti Aayog on ‘Economic Policy – The Road Ahead’.

According to PTI report, further opening the banking and insurance sector for foreign direct investment, accelerating the disinvestment processes and efficient management of water resources were some of the core issues that were discussed in the meeting.

“During the session, participants shared their views, in five distinct groups, on the economic themes of macro economy and employment, agriculture and water resources, exports, education and health,” said a release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office. The Prime Minister thanked all participants for their suggestions and observations, on various aspects of the economy.

The meeting was also attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State (independent charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation Rao Inderjeet Singh. Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and senior government officials were also present.

Among the economists and experts present at the meeting were Bimal Jalan (former RBI Governor), Shankar Acharya (former Chief Economic Adviser), Surjit Bhalla (former PMEAC member), Vikram Limay (CEO, NSE), Sonal Varma (Chief Economist, Nomura), Shekhar Shah (DG, NCAER), and Bibek Debroy (Chairman, EAC-PM).

N Chandrasekaran (Chairman, Tata Sons), T V Narendran (Global CEO and MD, Tata Steel), Anil Agarwal (Chairman, Vedanta Resources), Sanjiv Puri (Chairman and MD, ITC), and Vijay Shekhar Sharma (CEO, Paytm) were among the industry leaders whose opinions were sought in the meeting.

“Had a fruitful interaction with economists and other experts on the themes of macro-economy and employment, agriculture and water resources, exports, education, and health,” tweeted PM Modi.

The development comes after the latest government data revealed that economic growth in the January-March quarter tumbled to a five-year low of 5.8 per cent due to the poor performance of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Due to it, India has ceded space to China as the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) data had also shown that joblessness was at a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. It also revealed that the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for fiscal 2018-19 was at a five-year low of 6.8 per cent. The GDP growth was 7.2 per cent in 2017-18.

On Friday, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das admitted that there was clear evidence of ‘economic activity losing traction’ even as he announced a cut in the key policy rate by 25 basis points for the third consecutive time this year. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her first Union Budget on July 5.

The meeting comes days after former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian said the country’s growth had been overestimated by around 2.5 percentage points between 2011-12 and 2016-17 even as the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister rebutted his findings.

Last Saturday, at a meeting of the NITI Aayog, PM Modi said the goal to make India a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024 was challenging but achievable.

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