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PM Modi seeks ideas on Budget at NITI Aayog’s maiden meet

MODI (5)Ahead of his government’s first full year Budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on sought ideas from economists to attract investments, create jobs and finance infrastructure to put India back on high growth path.

Modi brainstormed suggestions with leading economists at the maiden meeting of “think tank” NITI Aayog and will follow it up with another meeting with Chief Ministers on Sunday.

“NITI Aayog had today organised a meeting … (with) some very eminent economists with regard to the state of economy and steps required to boost investment, growth and even specific suggestions with regard to the Union Budget,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told media persons after the meeting.

Jaitley, who will present the General Budget for 2015-16 on February 28, said suggestions were mainly related to the high growth roadmap for the Indian economy.

“These were also in relation to the financing of infrastructure, how to attract investment, how to boost domestic savings and the state of agricultural sector was particularly discussed,” the Finance Minister said.

Niti Aayog is a “think tank” also and today’s meeting was in that context, Jaitley said.

The meeting also discussed suggestions with regard to effective implementation of several flagship schemes of the government and how poverty levels can be brought down.

Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, Aayog’s full time members Bibek Debroy and V K Saraswat, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh, ex-RBI governor Bimal Jalan, Subir Gokarn, Ashok Gulati and G N Bajpai were also present in the meeting.

NITI Aayog came into existence on January 1 after the government scrapped the socialist-era Planning Commission.

When asked if giving statutory status to the Aayog was discussed in the meeting, Jaitley replied in negative.

To another query, he said issues related to government subsidies too were not discussed.

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