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

Economic Advisory Council to PM Narendra Modi to meet for first time tomorrow

The EAC today identified ten themes around which the council report would be structured in the coming months and developed by Theme Groups, led by its members, through consultative processes involving sectoral ministries, states, experts, institutions, private sector and other key stakeholders.

Replying queries at the same media interaction, Niti Aayog member and Chairman of the Council Bibek Debroy said "whether we like it or not we don't have good data on employment".

Debroy said the council has identified major priorities for accelerating growth and employment over the next six months, identifying 10 themes around which detailed reports will be prepared by its members and the EAC will make recommendations in "collaboration and consultation" with existing government bodies. These include economic growth, job creation, fiscal framework, monetary framework, social sector, the institution of economic governance among others.

The Council will address all issues of emergent importance, will engage with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and formulate advice accordingly.

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".

India must not move away from the path of fiscal consolidation, the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council said on Wednesday.

"There is a consensus among us about the various reasons that have contributed to the slowdown in the growth rate", Chairman of PMEAC Bibek Debroy said.

The council, formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, held its first meeting on Wednesday, and Mr Roy's comments came at the press conference which followed the meeting.

The council also assessed that the government needs to provide some sort of fiscal stimulus to revive economic growth.

Commenting on International Monetary Fund projections, PMEAC member Rathin Roy said they are 80% wrong.

Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian gave a presentation to the Council on ways to accelerate economic growth, including investments and exports by using a combination of different policy levers. "Whether we like it or not, we don't have good data on employment and jobs", he said.

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. This has prompted several agencies to lower India's growth forecast.

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