A “Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth” is likely to brainstorm on steps to push growth momentum in the economy and increase investment in key economic sectors like infrastructure and agriculture
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to set up cabinet committees to tackle the two biggest challenges his government faces – slowing growth and rising unemployment. PM Modi will lead both groups, which will also include Home Minister Amit Shah.
A five-member “Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth” is likely to brainstorm on steps to push growth momentum in the economy and increase investment in key economic sectors like infrastructure and agriculture. The second panel, a 10-member “Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development”, is likely to explore ways to create more jobs.
Last Friday, a day after PM Modi was sworn in for a second term following his election victory, the government announced the third straight fall in quarterly growth to 5.8 per cent in the first three months of the year (FY 2018-19). The economy grew at its slowest pace in 17 quarters. The figure was down from 6.6 percent in the last quarter of 2018.
The figure meant India is no longer the world’s fastest growing major economy; it is China, with 6.4 percent growth in the first quarter. India has fallen behind China’s pace for the first time in nearly two years.
At the same time, the government’s Ministry of Statistics put out figures that confirmed that unemployment was at a 45-year low.
The ministry said the unemployment rate was at 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, confirming the figure leaked to Business Standard newspaper in January, which said it was the worst since 1972-73.
Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava told NDTV that the comparison with past figures was “unfair” as it was “a new design, new metric”.
Business Standard, which first reported the figure in January, had said that it was based on an assessment carried out by the National Sample Survey Office between July 2017 and June 2018.
As the leaked data fueled concern months before the election, the government said the statistics were not ready.
Unemployment and the economy had been pitched as major issues by the Congress during the campaign for the national election. However, the party faced a crushing defeat in the elections, winning just 52 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha. The BJP’s victory was attributed mainly to its nationalism pitch during the campaign, where the economy was barely referred to