Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has said the recent election results came as a surprise to him, and the outcome has given the Modi government a “political mandate” to carry out its economic agenda. Nobody was able to predict the “magnitude of the UP election”, just as Brexit vote or the US election, he said.
“The one big surprise…was the election results. Even as you say it was a surprise, you kind of reveal or betray the fact that may be I didn’t expect the government to win this election and if I’d that belief, I wouldn’t be fit to serve this government,” he said while delivering the Hormis Memorial Lecture (founder’s day) organised by Federal Bank here last evening.
“The government now has the political mandate for doing what it wants to do. And that will include how do we further the development process,” Subramanian told PTI on the sidelines of the event.
“What specifically needs to be done, that we’ll see. But I think there is a strong political mandate for the government and the Prime Minister,” he said. Asked what will be his suggestions, he said the policies should focus on getting back investments, jobs and growth.
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In the 403-member UP Assembly and in the 117-member Uttarakhand House, the BJP has secured majority. But the party lost in Punjab. Subramanian also described the government’s note ban move as another “surprise” and listed out a variety of milestones which need to be achieved to call it a success.
On the government growth data, he said the GDP expansion figures are based on “preliminary data” and hinted that there may be revision in it going forward. When asked if it would be a downward revision, he said, “I mean there could be…it depends on the data. Could be, could not be.”
He termed the focus on narrowing down fiscal deficit as a “big success” and said the states will also have to emulate the Centre by being more responsible on the fiscal front. Subramanian advocated a market-based approach on the states’ borrowings, where the irresponsible states have to pay more for their borrowings.
Appreciating the government steps to push manufacturing, the CEA said that there is a need to have the ability to absorb the best of innovations rather than being at the cutting-edge of technology and innovations.