New Delhi: A high-level meeting chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley got underway here on Tuesday evening to review the economic situation and discuss measures, including a possible stimulus package, to be taken amidst an economic slowdown.
The meeting is being attended by, among others, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Secretaries in the Finance Ministry — Ashok Lavasa, Subhash Chandra Garg, Hasmukh Adhia, Rajiv Kumar and Neeraj Kumar Gupta.
Originally, the review was to take place with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s participation.
The meeting follows a sharp fall in latest key macro indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production, as well as a widening current account deficit.
The government is said to be considering to provide some financial stimulus to the economy in the wake of slowing growth post demonetisation, troubled transition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and tepid private investment.
Pulled down by sluggish manufacturing, growth in the Indian economy in the first quarter of this fiscal fell to 5.7 per cent, clocking the lowest GDP growth rate since Modi took power in May 2014.
The meeting is also expected to discuss the inflationary pressures and reasons for the low manufacturing growth of 1.2 per cent in July.
Reports have said the government was considering measures, both in the short and medium term, which are likely to be presented in the Union Budget 2018-19 to boost exports, create jobs and narrow the trade deficit.
There is also concern that the recent spurt in fuel prices, particularly of diesel, would have an adverse impact on farmers and the agricultural sector.