Farmers' income, jobs among PM Modi's agenda in FY18

Farmers' income, jobs among PM Modi's agenda in FY18

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley thanked the participants for their thought-provoking suggestions.

The meeting was attended by several Union Ministers including Radha Mohan Singh, R K Singh and NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, among others.

These immediate challenges to the economy topped the extensive discussion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior cabinet colleagues had on Wednesday with economists and sector experts from across the country.

"The suggestions from experts included those for the forthcoming budget as well as for longer term structural reforms", said Kumar.

An official statement said that during the session, participants shared their views on various economic themes such as the macro-economy, agriculture and rural development, and employment.

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"The NITI Aayog had set up a task force with experts to examine high frequency employment data".

Kumar said the statistics on lack of employment generation has been overstated. "You will see there is much better news on the employment front than what people thought", the NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman told presspersons. The task force on employment has got numbers which will be released very soon ... these numbers are startling and quite in contrast with Labour Bureau numbers. Kumar also added that the National Medical Commission Bill was supported by all the experts including doctors.

After the presentations, PM Modi assured the experts that the government will "attempt to make the best out of their informative suggestions and views which were presented in new ways through this initiative".

The meeting comes against the backdrop of data which showed the economy is estimated to grow 6.5%, a four-year low in 2017-18, hurt by the impact of demonetisation and rollout issues linked to GST.

Rajiv Kumar said what emerged clearly out of the meeting was that Prime Minister's call for doubling farmer incomes "is not just a pie in the sky". It was 7.5 percent in 2014-15.

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