Speaking on the sidelines of 51st annual conference of The Indian Econometric Society (TIES) at Punjabi University on Friday, former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the decision of the present government, allowing states to have amendments in the present labour laws with the President's consent, is a welcome step.
Though he refused to comment over Narendra Modi government's decision to revamp the 64-year old commission, Ahluwalia was all praise for the Modi government for allowing states to have their own labour laws.
"With the Rajasthan government setting precedent by having its own labour law, many other states across the country may follow suit in the near future," said Ahluwalia. "I urge people involved in such initiatives to concentrate on the policy of changing labour laws," he added.
Ahluwalia's demand of changing labour laws remained consistent over the years as even he was in the favour of introducing flexibility in the labour laws. "Besides me, many of the economists should agree that our labour laws are outdated and these needed to be liberalised," he added.
"If we went through the documents of 11th and 12th Five Year Plans, the change in the labour laws was the continuous thought," he said. Ahluwalia said small businesses need an equally liberalised system as compared to bigger companies, besides there is a need of scientific approach while drafting the economic policies.
"Economic policy is a gut instinct. Constant examination of issues, however, is a must," he added. Ahluwalia identified some current issues, including poverty, regional inequality and inequality of incomeand said the econometrics could help in tackling these issues.
"There is a need for extending state-wise analysis of these issues. Further, no policy could be successful without it being inclusive. Inclusiveness cannot be confined and focus on just poverty reduction," he said. He added that the research papers to be read in the ongoing conference hold importance from both country's and states' perspectives.
Ahluwalia also dwelt upon some other key areas for further research in econometrics such as means to produce useable skills and analysing factors that are hindering expansion of manufacturing sector.
Meanwhile, vice-president of the TIES Pami Dua delivered presidential address on behalf of TIES president Prasanta Pattanaik and clarified the notion of freedom in economics.
Ahluwalia also released a book named 'Financial derivatives dynamics in India' written by Rakesh Kumar, a professor at department of economics in the university's regional centre at Bathinda.
Director, State Planning Board, HS Dhillon, head of economics department Inderjeet Singh, Coordinator of the centre for development economics and Innovation Studies Lakhwinder Singh honoured the distinguished guests.
In the conference, around 300 delegates from all over the country are participating and will present their research papers in 35 parallel technical sessions.