The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi interacted with India’s leading economists, organised by NITI Aayog, on charting the economic agenda in the post covid world.
All the attendants agreed that high-frequency indicators are showing signs of a strong economic recovery, and that too earlier than expected. The attendants were broadly in agreement that next year will see robust growth and suggested measures to maintain this growth rate to drive India’s socio-economic transformation. The participants in the discussion highlighted the strong structural reform measures that have been undertaken in the past few years and how they would help in the creation of an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Suggestions were made by participants on future reform areas. Government expenditure on infrastructure was a point made by many participants as a driver of growth in coming years, given the significant multiplier benefits that accrue to the economy from public investments in infrastructure. A focus on labour-intensive manufacturing was also mooted by participants, given the success India has achieved in launching the production linked incentives (PLI) scheme in mobile manufacturing.
The participants also touched upon the potential for further fiscal measures and pitched for a prescribed path for fiscal consolidation. Financial sector reform was also discussed by participants. Participants also highlighted the need to tap household savings as a potential avenue to secure long-term funding for infrastructure projects. The participants also stressed the importance of investing in public health and education, as human capital would also likely emerge as a driver of growth, especially in the knowledge economy going forward.
The Prime Minister appreciated the inputs received from the participants and highlighted the crucial role such interactions played in setting the national development agenda. The Prime Minister highlighted how the covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent management threw up new professional challenges for all those involved. He further highlighted that together with a fiscal stimulus, the government also tried reform based stimulus, which was seen through historic reforms in agriculture, commercial coal mining and labour laws. The Prime Minister explained his vision behind an Atmanirbhar Bharat, where Indian companies are integrated in global supply chains in a manner not seen before. He highlighted the faith shown by foreign investors in India’s growth story, with foreign direct investment growing by 11% between April and October, despite a global recession. The PM further highlighted the economic potential set to be unleashed by the National Optical Fibre Network, providing internet connectivity to some of India’s most remote areas. On infrastructure, the Prime Minister highlighted the National Infrastructure Pipeline as the government’s commitment to developing world class infrastructure. The Prime Minister ended his talk by stating the importance of partnerships in achieving our goals, and that such consultations play a crucial role in setting the broader economic agenda.
Apart from the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Minister of State (Finance) were in attendance. Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, the Minister of State (Planning), Members of NITI Aayog, the Principal Secretary to PM, Principal Advisor to PM, the Cabinet Secretary and the Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog also joined the meeting. The Finance Secretary, Chief Economic Adviser and the Principal Economic Adviser from the Ministry of Finance were also in attendance.
The leading economists who participated in the discussion were:
ArvindPanagariya, ArvindVirmani, AbhayPethe, Ashok Lahiri, Abheek Barua, Ila Patnaik, KV Kamath, Monika Halan, Rajiv Mantri, Rakesh Mohan, Ravindra Dholakia, Saumya Kanti Ghosh, Shankar Acharya, Shekhar Shah, SonalVarma, Sunil Jain.