The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) on Friday spelt out a clear roadmap for stepping up skill development, job creation as well as investments in health, education and infrastructure to boost economic growth. In the second meeting of the newly formed body, it made recommendations to guide the evolving framework for the Fifteenth Finance Commission, including the incentivisation of states for achieving health, education and social inclusion outcomes, according to an official statement. The council is also evolving the design of a new Economy Tracking Monitor, linking economic growth indicators with social indicators for last mile connectivity.
The council identified key issues, strategies and recommended interventions in respect of these themes. The details of the recommendations of the EAC were not immediately available as they would submitted to the PM. India’s GDP growth came down from 7% in Q3FY17 to 6.1% in Q4FY17 and further to 5.7% in Q1FY18. While statisticians point out that when the informal economy is better represented after GST roll-out the growth rates could be revised further downwards, the jury is still out on whether the note ban’s adverse effect on the economy has withered away or if the economy has indeed bottomed out. Presentations by experts were made to the council on key themes, including one on infrastructure financing by EAC chairman Bibek Debroy. He underlined the need for infrastructure financing to be accorded high priority, with new mechanisms for a risk coverage umbrella.
“The unique feature of the new EAC-PM is turning out to be its ability to link economic growth with social aspects, with greater last-mile connectivity,” the council said.
Its value addition as an independent institutional mechanism for providing informed advice to the PM is increasingly being recognised, it added. Apart from Debroy, members Surjit Bhalla, Shamika Ravi, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal attended the meeting. In its first meeting on October 11, the council has identified 10 priority areas to boost economic growth and employment over the next six months, with greater last-mile connectivity. The themes were: Economic growth, employment and job creation, informal sector and integration, fiscal framework, monetary policy, public expenditure, institutions of economic governance, agriculture and animal husbandry, patterns of consumption and production, and social sector.