The newly-formed NDA government on Wednesday constituted two new Cabinet committees to address major concerns on sluggish economic growth and employment generation, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Interestingly, defence minister Rajnath Singh is not part of any of the two high-profile panels, in which several of his Cabinet colleagues, and even some ministers of state have been named as members.
The five-member Cabinet committee on growth and investment has home minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, railway minister Piyush Goyal and road transport minister Nitin Gadkari as members.
The second panel on skill development and employment generation has 10 members — Mr Shah, Ms Sitharaman, Mr Goyal as well as petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, human resources development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, skill development minister Mahendra Nath Pandey, minister of state for labour Santosh Gangwar and minister of state for urban development Hardeep Singh Puri.
Poor economic growth along with employment generation are the two major challenges for the NDA government, which last month returned to power at the Centre.
The Centre, meanwhile, also constituted the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Wednesday, which deals with national security and foreign affairs issues, is headed by the Prime Minister and has the defence, home, external affairs and finance ministers as its members.
The present CCS, headed by Prime Minister Modi, has defence minister Rajnath Singh, home minister Amit Shah, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar and finance minister Nirmala Sithataman as its members.
GDP growth for the January-March quarter was 5.8 per cent, the lowest in five years of the NDA government. GDP growth for 2018-19 was 6.8 per cent, against the target of 7.2 per cent set by the government.
Employment generation has been the poorest in the country in the past 45 years, as had been indicated by the National Sample Survey Office’s Periodic Labour Force Survey.
It had said India recorded the unemployment rate at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. Job creation was one of the key promises of the NDA government in its 2014 election manifesto.
Another concern for the government is a dip in the performance of the core sectors of the economy. The eight core sectors — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — recorded a growth of 2.6 per cent in April, compared to 4.6 per cent in the same month last year.
In its Global Economic Prospects released on June 4, the World Bank has said India was expected to have grown by 7.2 per cent in the financial year 2018-19.