NITI Aayog meet grapples with farm sector woes

Economists draw PM's attention to the country’s high-cost-low-productivity farm sector; Aayog to stay a “think tank”, no plans to give statutory status

February 06, 2015 01:15 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:32 pm IST - New Delhi

File photo shows the NITI Aayog building, formerly known as the Yojana Bhawan in New Delhi.

File photo shows the NITI Aayog building, formerly known as the Yojana Bhawan in New Delhi.

Economists invited to the first meeting of the NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog on Friday drew Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attention to the need for a renewed focus on India’s high-cost, low-productivity farm sector, in addition to the manufacturing sector that is being given a push through the “Make in India” campaign.

The Modi government has not launched any flagship programme for the agriculture sector.“It was said that alongside manufacturing, the agriculture sector, which is constrained by high costs and low productivity, needs focussed attention,” said a source present at Friday’s meeting.

In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister spoke of the government’s recent initiatives, including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, direct cash transfer of LPG subsidy and the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, an official release said. The economists, the release said, emphasised the need for the government to work towards high growth, a predictable tax regime, fiscal prudence and rapid infrastructure development.

Economists give investment, infra inputs for Budget

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here on Friday that economists invited to the first NITI Aayog meeting here presented views on the state of the economy and gave specific suggestions for the upcoming Union Budget, including steps that the government should take to boost investments and finance infrastructure projects.

Mr. Jaitley, an ex-officio member of the Aayog, said the Centre had no plans to give the NITI Aayog, planned as a think tank, statutory status.

Modi to meet CMs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the meeting, is scheduled to meet the Chief Ministers on Sunday.

Those who participated in the meeting included former FICCI Director-General Rajiv Kumar, former Reserve Bank Governor Bimal Jalan, former Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn and former Chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Ashok Gulati.

Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian and the Aayog’s full- time members Bibek Debroy and V.K. Saraswat, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha and Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh were present.

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