With the economy hitting a rough patch in recent months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to reconstitute the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister that had been rendered defunct after the previous UPA government demitted office in May 2014. The formation of the Council at this time suggests it could play a critical role in reviving the economy’s growth momentum that has slumped over the past few quarters, with the first quarter of this financial year clocking just 5.7% growth, down from 7.9% a year ago.
Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy has been picked as the chairman of the Council, which will also include Aayog’s principal advisor and former Finance Secretary Ratan Watal as its member-secretary. National Institute of Public Finance and Policy director Rathin Roy and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research professor Ashima Goyal have also been roped in as members of the Council.
The terms of reference of the council include analysis of any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the Prime Minister and advising him on the same, and attending to any task ‘as may be desired’ by the PM from time to time. The EAC-PM is an independent body to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.