Modi won’t take the populist route for elections, says former Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya

The former Niti Aayog vice chairman predicts a reform-oriented budget.

Updated - November 28, 2021 10:00 pm IST

Published - January 23, 2018 08:35 pm IST - New York

Arvind Panagariya. File photo

Arvind Panagariya. File photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not a populist who wants to win elections by offering governmental freebies to people and he would continue with the reformist economic agenda ahead of the 2019 general election, former Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya said. The Columbia University economist was delivering the first "New India" lecture at the Indian consulate in New York. The monthly lecture series will project the dynamism and potential of India before the city’s investment community, said Consul General Sandeep Chakrabarty.

“The forthcoming budget will be reform-oriented in my view. The PM has said that he would do what is right for the country,” Mr. Panagariya said, blaming the previous UPA government for the problems in the Indian economy. “India is back on its growth trajectory and if the current government continues in office for a long time, and does not commit mistakes like the Congress, India will grow consistently for the next several decades,” he said.

"By all accounts, I have no doubt that (India) will get back to eight per cent plus (growth rate). India really today is probably the only game in the town," he said.

Asked whether India could attain 10 percent growth, the economist said: "For India to achieve the double-digit growth, the country needs major reforms in labour and land acquisition laws. It also needs significant privatisation and a major reform of civil service, which is quite not sufficient to handle the large economy that India is now.”

Mr. Panagariya dismissed concerns about unemployment in India as exaggeration. ”Unemployment in India is not very high. Jobs are being created, but as the way policies were being adopted in India, in the end it gives very little incentive to employers to employ people in the formal sector,” he said.

Also read: Modi's policies eschew populism, enjoy public support: Jaitley

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