Narendra Modi govt's tenure 'best years' of Indian economy: EAC-PM member Surjit Bhalla
On reform front, Surjit Bhalla said the government should consider income transfer instead of higher minimum support price (MSP) and loan waivers
New Delhi: Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) member Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday said the four years of the Modi government are the 'best years' of the Indian economy and favoured more key reforms needed to be undertaken.
Bhalla also said although the macroeconomic parameters have shown good performance in the last four years, there are concerns about bad loans, and part of the problem can be attributed to the RBI Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) decision to keep interest rates high.
"If you look at any macro parameters then these (Modi government's four years) are the best four years of the Indian economy...so without a doubt, the macro performance is better, that is not to say everything is working or everything is fine," he told PTI in an interview.
"We have the NPA crisis that by all account is a lot worse now as a share of GDP or as a share of loans. And there are reasons why that is grown up and I think in my opinion the tight monetary policy that has been followed by the MPC is in some part to blame for the fact that the NPAs have risen," Bhalla added.
The Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power in May 2014.
Asked what more reforms can be undertaken by the Modi government, the eminent economist said the government should consider income transfer instead of higher minimum support price (MSP) and loan waivers.
"We should remove all bans on exports and imports on agricultural goods and we should move towards income transfer for the farmers, like it is in Telangana rather than doing it through MSP," Bhalla said.
The EAC-PM member also observed that the rupee fall has not been beneficial for the Indian exports.
"I don't think rupee depreciation helped India's exports," he said.
The Commerce Ministry has recently constituted a 12-member high-level advisory group, headed by Bhalla which would suggest ways to promote the country's trade.
India's exports entered the negative zone after five months, contracting 2.15 percent in September to USD 27.95 billion even though the trade deficit narrowed to a five-month low of about USD 14 billion.
Bhalla also pitched for privatisation of public sector undertakings, saying there are very little arguments for government running businesses.
"Story around the world is more and more privatisation not less and less...Air India should be privatised. Government can keep ownership in it but certainly should not be managed by the government," he noted.
Leaders such as Rakesh Tikait, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Gurnam Singh Chaduni guided and shaped the nationwide movement against against the three farm laws, which the government agreed to repeal on Friday
The rollback shows how politically difficult it is to carry out economic reforms in India. In the prime minister's words, the government failed to convince a section of farmers about the benefits of the bill.
The Congress leader's attack came a day after Modi in an address to the nation announced the repeal of the three agri laws that had triggered a year of protests by farmers.