Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday discussed ways to boost economic growth, the need for co-opting states in development and the steps needed for faster job creation at his first meeting with economists, bankers and tax professionals at the recently created think-tank Niti Aayog that replaced Planning Commission.
Modi stressed the need for cooperative federalism and advocated healthy competition for development among states.
Experts who attended the meeting emphasised on the work needed to ensure a high growth rate, predictable tax regime, fiscal prudence and rapid infrastructure development. The Union Budget for 2015-16 to be announced later this month is expected to have proposals in this regard.
“The PM said India must develop fast, taking advantage of current global environment, to meet the aspirations of the people,” said an official release, alluding to India’s relatively healthy economic growth rate and the fall in global oil price that reduced the government’s heavy oil bill. The slow down in Chinese economy and the continued weakness in EU economies presented an opportunity for India to attract capital.
Modi also discussed ways to improve tax collection and expenditure rationalisation. Modi is expected to meet state chief ministers on Sunday at Niti Aayog. Modi wants to give states greater say in deciding priorities and in resource allocation in the Union Budget. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had in last December met state chief ministers to discuss decentralisation of centrally sponsored schemes, setting up of various infrastructure facilities across the country and the possibility of raising the fiscal deficit limits for some states.
Jaitley, who took part in Friday’s meeting at Niti Aayog, later told reporters that the meeting was organised with “some very eminent economists with regard to the state of economy and steps required to boost investment, growth and even specific suggestions with regard to the Union Budget”.
Experts including Vijay Kelkar, Nitin Desai, Bimal Jalan, Rajiv Lall, R Vaidyanathan, Subir Gokarn, Parthasarathi Shome, P Balakrishnan, Rajiv Kumar, Ashok Gulati, Mukesh Butani and GN Bajpai attended the meeting.