New Delhi (IANS) Ahead of Budget 2020-21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met here with around 40 economists, industry heads, experts, bankers and entrepreneurs where he addressed them on India’s target of achieving a $5 trillion economy, according to official sources.
The meeting discussed ways of boosting growth and job creation, apart from a host of other issues raised by the participants, including investment climate, credit growth and structural reforms.
The meeting, seen as a pre-Budget discussion, is expected to lead to the incorporation of some of the suggestions in the Finance Minister’s presentation on February 1, sources said. Modi has already met industry captains recently to seek their suggestions.
“The Prime Minister addressed the gathering of industry, economists, experts and entrepreneurs on the $5 trillion dollar target and their role in helping the economy achieve it. The meeting discussed the consumption slowdown, investment climate , exports, credit growth, governance of PSBs (public sector banks), asset monetisation, real estate, external commercial borrowings, the MGNREGA rural emplyment scheme, textiles , start-ups and cluster developmentm” among others”, one source said.
Another source said some participants sought lower income taxes to boost consumption.
“The PM took suggestions on boosting consumption and generating demand in economy. There were some short-term and long-term suggestions as well. The government will consider the structural reform proposals, some of the suggestions may make it into the Budget,” he said.
Modi welcomed the criticisms of the meeting participants and said it was a “free and frank” discussion, he added.
A wide range of industry sectors were present at the Prime Minister’s meeting, including auto, apparel, education, analytics, travel, private equity, venture capital, rating agencies, health, real estate and domestic private banks.
All the Secretaries in the Finance Ministry were present at the meeting, besides the Commerce Secretary, Cabinet secretary, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Principal Advisor.
The Ministers present at the meeting were Home Minister Amit Shah, Commerce minister Piyush Goyal, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The sources said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could not be present at the meeting owing to party work assigned to her.
Others present included Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and Chief Executive Amitabh Kant, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman Bibek Debroy, Punjab and Sind Bank non-executive Chairman Charanjit Singh Sanjay Nair, and the Bandhan Bank CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh.
The economists at the meeting included Arjun G. Nagarajan, Farazana Afridi, Illa Patnaik, Laveesh Bhandari, Pranjul Bhandari and Sachidanad Shukla, among others.
As economic growth slips for lack of demand and consumption, global agencies and the National Statistical Office (NSO) itself have scaled down the current fiscal’s GDP projections to an 11-year low of 5 per cent, mainly due to poor showing by the manufacturing and construction sectors.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also lowered its growth estimate to 5 per cent.
On Thursday, the World Bank too lowered its India GDP growth projection to 5 per cent.
As per the official advance estimates for 2019-20, manufacturing sector output growth will decelerate to 2 per cent, down from 6.9 per cent in the previous fiscal. Likewise, the construction sector growth is estimated at 3.2 per cent, as against 8.7 per cent in 2018-19.
The previous low in economic growth was recorded at 3.1 per cent in 2008-09. The dismal performance of the current fiscal was anticipated as the gross domestic product (GDP) growth registered in the first quarter was 5 per cent and 4.5 per cent in the subsequent one.