PM, economists take stock of economy

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PM, economists take stock of economy

Organized by NITI Aayog, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended an interactive session based on the theme of "Economic Policy - The Road Ahead".

The outcome of Wednesday's discussions on key themes, including macroeconomic balances, agriculture and rural development, urban development, infrastructure and connectivity, employment, manufacturing, exports, health and education, could echo in the Union budget for 2018-19, the last full budget of the National Democratic Alliance regime before the 2019 elections.

The meeting, being organised by government think tank NITI Aayog, will be attended by a host of ministers including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, NITI Aayog functionaries and leading economists. "Many experts today said that we should shift from focus on agricultural production to raising farmers income, by improving productivity, lowering costs, greater efficiency, greater market access, making producers of products rather than commodities", Kumar said.

He said that the meeting was a traditional practice since the formation of the NITI Aayog.

"NITI Aayog had set up a task force to examine what we call high frequency employment data".

The issue was discussed at length during the meeting at NITI Aayog in New Delhi where over 40 economists and experts were present.

Prime Minister lauded experts for their suggestions and observations, on various aspects of the economy. "Someone said that it is time now to target on job growth", Kumar informed media. "The PM was present for a significant period and showed keen interest in the presentations", said a source who was present in the meeting.

The meeting follows the Central Statistics Office's forecast that GDP growth in the current financial year will slow to a four-year low of 6.5%, from the provisional 7.1% seen in 2016-17, dragged down by deceleration in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. It was 7.5 percent in 2014-15.

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