PM, economists discuss growth

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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 40 economists who interacted with the PM on Wednesday shared their views ranging from macro-economy, agriculture and rural development, employment, health and education, manufacturing and exports, urban development, infrastructure and connectivity.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley thanked all the participants for their thought-provoking suggestions. "Many experts today said that we should shift from focus on agricultural production to raising farmers income, by improving productivity, lowering costs, greater efficiency, greater market access, making producers of products rather than commodities", Kumar said.

The Prime Minister suggested that another meeting be held again, two months after the budget. "There is a much better news on employment", Kumar said at a press conference here. We had set up a task force to examine high frequency data on employment.

"But these number are startling and quite in contrast with Labour Bureau numbers".

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The issue was discussed at length during the meeting at NITI Aayog in New Delhi where over 40 economists and experts were present. "Someone said that it is time now to target on job growth", Kumar informed media.

Also, there was a unanimous support to the National Medical Commission Bill.

In his intervention, the Prime Minister thanked various participants for their suggestions and observations, on various aspects of the economy. Several presentations were made to the PM during the meeting.

Kumar said that the jobs situation was also on the agenda of the meeting.

Earlier last week, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) released the first advance estimate that indicated a low 6.5 per cent growth figure mainly due to slowed performance of manufacturing and agriculture.