Create jobs: Experts tell PM ahead of Budget

Create jobs: Experts tell PM ahead of Budget

The outcome of Wednesday's discussions on key themes, including macroeconomic balances, agriculture and rural development, urban development, infrastructure and connectivity, employment, manufacturing, exports, health and education, could echo in the Union budget for 2018-19, the last full budget of the National Democratic Alliance regime before the 2019 elections.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, economists and experts suggested the government to focus on jobs, adopt an exports-driven growth strategy and work on doubling the farmers income.

Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said the think-tank will soon come out with a report on employment data and there would be better news on the jobs front. Several people suggested that the government must move away from singular focus on agriculture production to raising farmers income by boosting productivity, reducing costs, giving greater market access to farmers and creating farm clusters within districts that provide both forward and backward linkage.

"NITI Aayog had set up a task force to examine what we call high frequency employment data".

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

The select group of economists and various sector experts have been invited by NITI Aayog for the deliberations with the prime minister on "Economic Policy: The Road Ahead".

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

Finance Minister Jaitley is scheduled to present the budget on February 1.

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 statistics we are getting on lack of employment generation are probable overrated".

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. It was 7.5 percent in 2014-15.