Modi’s handpicked economists put RBI monetary policy, economic slowdown, job creation among top priorities

After a gap of three-years, the newly-formed Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) met on Wednesday for the first time and decided to complement the Reserve Bank of India on monetary policy ideas along with working on 10-point agenda including the economic growth, job creation, fiscal framework. The meeting of the EAC-PM chaired by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy, concluded that the role of EAC is only to make recommendations to the Prime Minister, but said it can complement the RBI on monetary policy ideas and consult the central bank on the same.The EAC also picked ten key areas which will be a priority for the Narendra Modi-formed committee. These include economic growth, job creation, fiscal framework, monetary framework, social sector, the institution of economic governance among others. “We will consult the RBI on monetary policies, and can complement RBI’s monetary policy ideas. All steps taken by the council will be in consultation with existing bodies,” EAC-PM Chairman Bibek Debroy said after the meeting.“The role of the EAC is to make recommendations to the Prime Minister. We have picked 10 issues to initially work on in today’s meeting.” Bibek Debroy added.The Chief Economic Advisor to Ministry of Finance, Arvind Subramanian was present also present at the first meeting along with other economists in the group. Besides Debroy, the council includes NITI Aayog’s principal adviser Ratan Watal as its member and economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal as part-time members.Ratan Watal said that the CEA Arvind Subramanian gave a detailed presentation to the council at the meeting. He said the council will using resources of the NITI Aayog to work on the prioritised areas. “We will be using resources of NITI Aayog to push our agenda forward. The council will work keeping next year’s budget in mind,” Ratan Watal said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi formed the EAC last month after a gap of three years on the back of slow economic growth. The EAC was formed to address the issues of macroeconomic importance. The council will also analyse and advise the Prime Minister on any issue, economic or otherwise, referred by him. Before the Modi-government, during UPA I and UPA II, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also formed PMEAC for his two full terms.