PM forms Economic Advisory Council; Debroy to head it

New Delhi, Sep 25 (PTI) Over three years after coming to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today formed an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) amid the government’s endeavour to give a push to the growth which has witnessed a slowdown.

The five-member EAC will be headed by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy and will include NITI Aayog’s Principal Advisor Ratan Watal as its member and economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal as part-time members, according to an official statement.

“The five-member council consists of economists of high repute and eminence,” said the statement.

Terms of reference of the EAC would be to “analyse any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the prime minister and advising him thereon,” the statement said.

It will also “address issues of macroeconomic importance” and present its views to the prime minister, it said, adding “This could be either suo-motu or on reference from the prime minister or anyone else.”

It’s terms of reference also includes attending to “any other task as may be desired by the prime minister from time to time,” the statement said.

Formation of the EAC by the prime minister comes over three years after he assumed power and at a time when the GDP has slipped to 5.7 per cent in April-June quarter, the lowest since May 2014.

Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said “..whatever steps are required to change the (economic) environment, we are certainly in the process of addressing that.”

The opposition has been attributing the slowdown to last year’s demonetisation, an argument which the government rejects.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week said the economy was on a “downhill path” because of the “adventure” of demonetisation which, he said, was not required at all, either technically or economically.

Singh, as prime minister, had an EAC headed by former RBI Governor C Rangarajan, who resigned in May 2014 after the UPA government lost power.

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