Raising farmer's income key to better agricultural production: Rajiv Kumar

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NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Monday said the Union Budget 2018-19 would not be a populist budget, contrary to what many believe.

Employment generation, exports and increasing farmers' income emerged as the top agenda during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction with the country's 40 leading economists on Wednesday.

The select group of economists and various sector experts have been invited by NITI Aayog for the deliberations with the prime minister on "Economic Policy: The Road Ahead".

They also suggested that the proposed bank recapitalisation should be accompanied with banking sector reforms. Last week, the government had informed Parliament of its decision to issue Rs80,000 crore worth of recapitalization bonds to raise resources for the capital infusion plan.

Kumar further said the Niti Aayog will "very soon" come out with a report of the task force, which was set up to study high frequency data on job creation.

Rajiv Kumar said it was also pointed out that educated unemployment among young people in the country may be as high as 20 per cent.

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A stronger exports-driven strategy was also discussed at the meeting.

The participants expressed their views on macro-economy, agriculture, rural development, employment, health, education, manufacturing, exports, urban development, infrastructure and connectivity.

"So there is a big opportunity here for India".

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley thanked the participants for their thought-provoking suggestions.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of latest estimates of national income by Central Statistics Office (CSO) which showed that India's growth is expected to slow down to a four-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2017-18 from 7.1 per cent a year ago.

According to consulting firm EY, there are clear signs that growth numbers might progressively rise with the effects of demonetization and transition hiccups of goods and services tax behind us.