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NITI Aayog drawing up plans to boost jobs as concerns over economy grow

Aayog officials said the think tank has also begun working on drawing up sector-wise “actionable plans” for 2022 under a new initiative focusing on India in its 75 year after Independence.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2017 18:28 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Niti Aayog building on Parliament Street in New Delhi. Fixing agriculture, revenue generation and increasing the number of jobs are the key focus areas for the think tank, apart from improving social sector indices.
The Niti Aayog building on Parliament Street in New Delhi. Fixing agriculture, revenue generation and increasing the number of jobs are the key focus areas for the think tank, apart from improving social sector indices.(Sushil Kumar/HT File Photo)

The government has asked federal think tank NITI Aayog to draw up a roadmap to boost the economy and create jobs, Aayog officials said on Thursday, amid growing concerns over the country’s financial health.

Officials said the plan will be for the remainder of the BJP-led government’s term at the Centre. The next general elections are scheduled in 2019.

Faced with mounting criticism of his economic policies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday mounted a fierce defence of the government’s actions, including last year’s demonetisation and roll out of the Goods and Servcies Tax (GST).

Aayog officials said the think tank has also begun working on drawing up sector-wise “actionable plans” for 2022 under a new initiative focusing on India in its 75 year after Independence.

The exercise is being carried out on directions from Modi who is also the chairman of think tank. Fixing agriculture, revenue generation and increasing the number of jobs are the key focus areas for the think tank, apart from improving social sector indices.

“We have been asked to come up with actionable targets for 2022. The exercise will also define the roadmap for setting and achieving goals in the short term,” said a senior officer involved with the exercise.

Another top official said NITI vice chairman Rajiv Kumar held meetings with scientists and innovators on Wednesday as part of the “outreach to get ideas for a paradigm shift for higher employment generation across sectors”.

Besides criticism from its political opponents, the government has been sounded out by two senior BJP leaders, former ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, who recently described the economic policies as out of sync with reality.

The BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), has also criticised the government on the economic front.

Modi defence of his government’s handling of the economy came shortly after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lowered its GVA growth estimates for the current year from 7.3% to 6.7%

Modi admitted the growth rate had come down in April-June this year, but said “the government is committed to reverse that and we are ready to take the decisions”.

“The nation’s financial stability too has to be maintained and we will keep taking steps to improve the economy,” the Prime Minister said.

Earlier, growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal had slumped to 5.7%

The think tank had released a 210-page three-year action agenda in August, which was criticised for being low on actionable goals. Then vice chairman of the aayog Arvind Panagriya had also promised two longer-term documents: one seven-year strategy document and a 15-year vision document. He, however, resigned in soon after.