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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

AAP forms panel to formulate economic agenda

Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 19, 2014
First Published: 23:07 IST(19/1/2014) | Last Updated: 23:08 IST(19/1/2014)

Days after facing flak for its decision against FDI in multi-brand retail in the capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) formed a seven member committee to formulate its economic policy.

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The committee includes Meera Sanyal, former CEO of Royal bank of Scotland, India, Laveesh Bhandari, director of economics research firm Indicus Analytics, Aseem Srivastava, noted environmental economist, among others.

“The committee met for the first time on Sunday and had a discussion on a wide array of issues,” said a party member on condition of anonymity.

While the inclusion of Sanyal and Bhandari – both votaries of free trade – in the committee could indicate the AAP’s willingness to change tack on its so far anti-free trade stance, party insiders maintain its economic policy would be framed by the “needs of the aam aadmi”. “Our guiding force will always and unfailingly be the common man,” a party member said.

In an interview to HT on Saturday, AAP chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had indicated the same. Asked about the economic thinker he admired the most, he said, “I think it is the aam aadmi that provides the best viewpoint. You sit with an aam aadmi. He has the problems as well as the solutions to them.”

Last week, the party had faced criticism from some of its own prominent member for its opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail. Captain Gopinath, the founder of Air Deccan, had said the AAP was in danger of being relegated in the same bracket as other political parties, which resort to cheap and populist measures and oppose for the sake of opposition. “It will also send a wrong message to investors, that India is an unstable country with regard to economic policies,” he had said.


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