Modi revives Economic Advisory Council

The five-member body, to be headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy, will advise the Prime Minister on issues of macro-economic importance.

September 25, 2017 06:21 pm | Updated September 26, 2017 09:31 am IST

Noted economist, Bibek Debroy said he would have preferred a single GST rate as multiple rates may create artificial barriers.

Noted economist, Bibek Debroy said he would have preferred a single GST rate as multiple rates may create artificial barriers.

With the economy hitting a rough patch in recent months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to reconstitute the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister that had been rendered defunct after the previous UPA government demitted office in May 2014.

Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy has been picked as the chairman of the Council, which will also include Aayog’s principal advisor and former Finance Secretary Ratan Watal as its member-secretary.

Economist Surjit Bhalla, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy director Rathin Roy and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research professor Ashima Goyal have also been roped in as members of the Council.

“Addressing issues of macroeconomic importance and presenting views thereon to the Prime Minister. This could be either suo-motu or on reference from the Prime Minister or anyone else,” is the key term of reference for the panel.

The terms of reference of the council include analysis of any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the Prime Minister and advising him on the same, and attending to any task ‘as may be desired’ by the PM from time to time, as per an official statement.

The EAC-PM is an independent body to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.

The formation of the Council at this time suggests it could play a critical role in reviving the economy’s growth momentum that has slumped over the past few quarters, with the first quarter of this financial year clocking just 5.7% growth, down from 7.9% a year ago.

The last chairperson of the Council, when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, was former Reserve Bank of India Governor C. Rangarajan.

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