After NITI Aayog, Modi now sets up Economic Advisory Council

26 September 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday constituted an Economic Advisory Council, nearly three years after the economic think tank NITI Aayog he set up only helped to bring in reforms without growth.

NITI Aayog member and a former professor at the Centre for Policy Research Bibek Debroy has been appointed chairman of Economic Advisory Council. Other members of the Council are Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal and Ratan Watal, all economists of great reputation.

The EAC would "analyse any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the prime minister and advising him thereon," the statement said.

It will also "address issues of macroeconomic importance" and present its views to the prime minister, it said, adding "This could be either suo-motu or on reference from the prime minister or anyone else."

The council would also attend to "any other task as may be desired by the prime minister from time to time," the statement said.

Modi's move is a reflection of the failure of NITI Aayog, the National Institution for Transforming India is a Government of India policy, established to replace the Planning Commission.

NITI Aayog was intended to encourage public involvement and participation in the economic policy it has done neither.

And the sketchy three-year action agenda for the government that the agency managed to release last month is only a roadmap for reforming the various sectors of the economy, not for driving growth.

The NITI Aayog action plan basically talks of action pertaining to increasing productivity, policy prioritisations and measures to meet emergencies.

Clearly, there is a lack of direction as to where the economy is headed to and what the end results would be.

Three years after the Narendra Modi government assumed power the GDP has slipped to 5.7 per cent in April-June quarter, the lowest since May 2014.

The opposition has been attributing the slowdown to last year's demonetisation, an argument which the government rejects.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week said the economy was on a "downhill path" because of the "adventure" of demonetisation which, he said, was not required at all, either technically or economically.

Singh, as prime minister, had an EAC headed by former RBI Governor C Rangarajan, who resigned in May 2014 after the UPA government lost power.

 search domain-b