Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday set up two new cabinet committees under his chairmanship to focus on two key concerns – investment and employment. In the last five years, all efforts to address the issue of investment and employment have ended up with disappointing results. Now that Narendra Modi is back as the prime minister for the second time after the landslide victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the government is expected to roll-out bolder reforms to tackle these issues, which could help sustain the high growth rates over the long term.
The cabinet committee on investments will be chaired by PM Narendra Modi and will have Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari as its members.
The Cabinet committee on employment will have ten members headed by the Prime Minister. The other members include Shah, Sitharaman, Goyal, Agriculture and Panchayti Raj Minister Naresh Singh Tomar, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Skill and Entrepreneurship Minister Mahendra Pandey, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri and Ministers of State for Labour Santosh Kumar Gangwar.
India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates for the January-March quarter of financial year 2018-19 was recorded at 5.8 per cent, which happens to be lowest growth rate in the past five financial years. The lower GDP growth figures were attributed to weaker domestic consumption, slower global growth and tensions between the United States and China.
Meanwhile, unemployment in the country hit a 45-year high at 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. The annual report (July 2017-June 2018) of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) showed that unemployment rate was higher in the urban areas at 7.8 per cent as compared to 5.3 per cent in the rural.
For the PM, his key task during the second term would be to address the lack of appetite for fresh project investments in the private sector. For the last five years, the government investments in infrastructure and spending on social sector schemes have been largely driving economic growth – along with private consumption. Trade and private sector investment have been laggards. Ideally, both these need to do well for the growth story to continue.