Ahead of the Union Budget for 2020-21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met economists and sector experts at the Niti Aayog to discuss the state of the economy and steps which can be taken to revive growth which is projected to drop to 5 per cent this fiscal.
The high-profile meeting was attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, besides Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, CEO Amitabh Kant and other senior officials of the think-tank. However, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was not present at the meeting.
Bibek Debroy, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, too was present at the meeting which discussed a host of issues, including those related to agriculture, infrastructure sectors.
The meeting assumes significance as the government is in the process of formulating Budget proposals for 2020-21, the focus of which is likely to be on accelerating economic growth which is estimated to slip to an 11-year low of 5% during 2019-20.
Government data showed, on Tuesday, that India's GDP growth has been forecasted to dip to an 11-year low of 5% in the current fiscal on the back of poor showing by manufacturing and construction sectors.
As per the first advance estimates of the national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the manufacturing sector output growth will decelerate to 2% in 2019-20, down from 6.9% in the previous financial year.
Likewise, the construction sector growth is estimated at 3.2% as against 8.7% in 2018-19.
According to back series GDP data released by the government in November 2018, the previous low in economic growth was recorded at 3.1% in 2008-09.
The macro-economic data is important as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would be using it for preparing Budget estimates for the next financial year.
Amid pre-budget discussions, Prime Minister on Monday interacted with top business tycoons to discuss the issues facing the economy and measures needed to boost growth and create jobs.
This meeting was attended by Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal, Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra, Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata, Tata Group Chairman N. Chandrasekaran, Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, TVS Chairman Venu Srinivasan, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal, L&T Chairman A.M. Naik, JSW Chairman Sajjan Jindal and Bharat Forge founder Chairman Baba Kalyani.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting her second Union Budget on February 1.
With PTI and IANS inputs