PM, economists discuss growth

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural session of first PIO Parliamentarian Conference in New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural session of first PIO Parliamentarian Conference in New Delhi

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with experts and secretaries ahead of the Union Budget.

The bureaucrats shared their views on various economic themes such as macro-economy, agriculture and rural development, employment, health and education, manufacturing and exports, urban development, infrastructure and connectivity.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attended the meeting along with other Cabinet ministers.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, Rajiv Kumar, said, "Several participants said that we must shift our focus from increasing agricultural production".

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with leading economists and the experts across sectors from all over the country at NITI Aayog tomorrow", an official statement said on Tuesday. We had set up a task force to examine high frequency data on employment.

"You'll see there is much better news on the employment front than what people thought", he said adding that educated unemployment among young people in the country may be as high as 20 per cent. "I am trying to create capability in the Aayog hopefully in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour to trap this data", he said.

After the presentations, PM Modi assured the experts that the government will "attempt to make the best out of their informative suggestions and views which were presented in new ways through this initiative". Kumar also said there was overwhelming support for the National Medical Council bill from the experts.

Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman of federal policy think tank NITI Aayog, which organized the discussion, said at a briefing that many experts suggested measures for raising farm productivity, reducing cost of farming and improving market access for farmers.

Kumar said that the jobs situation was also on the agenda of the meeting.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has projected India's growth to slow to 4-year low of 6.5 percent in the current fiscal in the backdrop of introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. It was 7.5 percent in 2014-15.

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