PM Modi chairs high-level meeting on global economic scenario


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting with top industrialists and bankers to discuss the economic scenario and find opportunities for India at a time of upheaval in the global economy. The meeting is currently underway at the Prime Minister’s residence on 7 Race Course Road. The meeting is also likely to throw focus on stepping up the reform impetus.

The meeting comes amid indications that the Prime Minister’s Office is playing a decisive role in charting out the contours of the upcoming Union Budget, for which the preparatory process has already been advanced by about three months.

Those invited for the meeting include Reliance India Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani and Tata group chief Cyrus Mistry. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, and economists such as Jehangir Aziz, head (emerging Asia economics), JP Morgan, fund managers and the chiefs of the industry chambers have also been invited. Each invitee would be expected to make a three-minute presentation to the PM.

In all, at least 40 people are expected to attend the meeting, including officials and cabinet ministers. “The PM has called a meeting at his 7, Race Course Road residence to discuss how the Chinese crisis and other global developments can be used to India’s advantage. It will include a pre-Budget format of discussion. The issues for deliberation would include recent global developments such as the Greek crisis and the Chinese economic situation — all of which can spell into a huge opportunity for India,” said a source involved in the development.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, chief economic adviser to the finance ministry Arvind Subramanian and DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant are scheduled to attend the meeting.

The meeting comes just ahead of his visit to the US later this month.

While India is expected to be the fastest-growing economy in the world after the Chinese slowdown, industrialists have begun to raise concerns over stalled reforms that has also been reflected in the stock markets plunging over the last few months. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex fell by 11.5 per cent since August while foreign institutional investors sold shares worth over Rs 17,000 crore last month.

Two of the government’s key reform measures, including amendments to the Land Acquisition Act and the Constitutional Amendment Bill for the rollout of the goods and services tax have been stalled due to a Parliamentary logjam.

With a lack of investments, the economy is estimated to have grown 7 per cent in the first quarter of the fiscal as against 7.5 per cent in the preceding quarter.
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