PM's Advisory Council Member Questions IMF, WB Growth Outlook

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

The first meeting of the newly constituted Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) will be held on Wednesday and is likely to discuss avenues to boost economic growth and accelerate employment generation in the country.

The other members on the committee include Surjit Bhalla and Rathin Roy, along with Ratan Watal, principal advisor, Niti Aayog, as member secretary. "We will also have another formal meeting next month and give recommendations to the prime minister", Debroy said.

"There is a consensus among us about the various reasons that have caused the slowdown" and the Council will provide specific recommendations that can be implemented in the near term, its chairman Bibek Debroy said after the meeting.

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. The other focus areas are monetary policy, public spending, agriculture and animal husbandry, institutions of economic governance, patterns of consumption and production and the social sector.

It was also agreed that specific issue papers will also be brought out by members to address key concerns and linkages will be established with key national institutions.

The council will also analyse and advise the Prime Minister on any issue, economic or otherwise, referred by him. "Whether we like it or not, we don't have good data on employment and jobs", he said.

Responding to the International Monetary Fund slashing India's growth forecast for 2017-18 to 6.7 per cent in its October projection from 7.2 per cent in April, Rathin Roy said the body's estimates were wrong 80 per cent of the time.

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.

"IMF's growth projections are 80 per cent wrong".

The government is considering ways to revive the economy after growth fell to its slowest pace in three years in the three months to June.

The industry is seeking fiscal stimulus to tide over the economic slowdown.

If the government does not deviate from its target of reining in its fiscal deficit at 3.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), providing stimulus would be nearly impossible. This has prompted several agencies to lower India's growth forecast.