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Budget 2019: PM Modi discusses 'single-minded pursuit' for growth with top economists


New Delhi, June 22: Amid growing concern over the slowdown in the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today attended an interactive session with over 40 economists and other experts, organised by NITI Aayog, on the theme "Economic Policy - The Road Ahead."

Image credit: @narendramodi

During the interactive session, speakers made a case for "single-minded pursuit" to achieve growth, they added.

A release issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that the session, organised by Niti Aayog on 'Economic Policy - The Road Ahead', was attended by more than 40 economists and sectoral experts.

"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," the release said.

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Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (independent charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation Rao Inderjeet Singh, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, CEO Amitabh Kant and senior government officials were also present.

Among the economists and experts present were former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan, former Chief Economic Adviser Shankar Acharya, former PMEAC member Surjit Bhalla, National Stock Exchange CEO Vikram Limaye, Nomura chief economist Sonal Varma, National Council of Applied Economic Research Director General Shekhar Shah, and Economic Advisory Council Chairperson Bibek Debroy.

Sources said key issues like creation of jobs, boosting exports amid trade wars and initiating more structural reforms too were focus of the interactive session.

Niti Aayog, the government think-tank, termed the session as "lively, vibrant, constructive" where extremely positive discussions took place.

The meeting comes against the backdrop of recent Central Statistics Office (CSO) data showing that the economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018-19, pushing India behind China, due to poor showing by agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

The 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 (at 2011-12 prices) was at a five-year low of 6.8 per cent. The GDP growth was 7.2 per cent in 2017-18.

The meeting also assumes significance as it comes ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget on July 5 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

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