Unfazed by projections of GDP growth slowing to an 11-year low in the current fiscal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 9 said fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong and it has the capacity to bounce back.
On Thursday, he met economists, private equity and venture capitalists, business leaders and agri experts at Niti Aayog and called for focussed efforts from all stakeholders to achieve the target of nearly doubling the size of the Indian economy to $5 trillion by 2024.
While senior ministers including Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari were present at the meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was conspicuous by her absence.
Around the same as the NITI Aayog meeting, Sitharaman was interacting with BJP officer bearers and others in the party headquarters as part of the pre-budget exercise.
Modi said he was happy that the two-hour open discussion has brought to the forefront the experience of people on the ground and those working in their respective fields.
He said that this would enhance the synergy between policy makers and various stakeholders. The Prime Minister said that the idea of 5 trillion dollar economy is not a sudden development and that it is based on a deep understanding of the strengths of the country.
He said the strong absorbent capacity of Indian economy shows the strength of basic fundamentals of the Indian economy and its capacity to bounce back.
Modi said the sectors like tourism, urban development, infrastructure and agri-based industry have a great potential to taking forward the economy and for employment generation. He said open discussions and brainstorming in such forums lead to a healthy debate and understanding of the issues.
The Prime Minister said that this would also foster a positive mood and “can do” spirit in the society.
Stating that India is land with unlimited possibilities he requested all stakeholders to do their bit to bridge the gap between reality and perception. He said, “We must all work together and start to think like a nation.”
The NITI Aayog tweeted later that the prime minister had a productive interaction with economists and experts to discuss topics ranging across economy and experts to discuss topics ranging across economy, social sector and start-ups in NITI Aayog. Economists including Shankar Acharya, R Nagaraj, Farzana Afridi, Venture Capitalist Pradip Shah, Industrialists Apparao Mallavarapu, Deep Kalra, Patanjali Govind Keswani, Deepak Seth, Srikumar Misra, subject experts Ashish Dhawan and Shiv Sarin were among the 38 delegates who participated in the discussions.
Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal and Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Rural Development, Panchayati Raj Narendra Tomar, Secretaries from various Ministries, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar and CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant attended the meeting.