An employment-oriented economic policy -Pulapre Balakrishnan
In the heated debate on jobs, the crucial link between macroeconomic policy and unemployment has not been flagged
Innumerable tasks with respect to the economy await the winner of the parliamentary elections now under way, but two may be mentioned and they are connected. The first is to review the conduct of macroeconomic policy. Though it must come across as arcane, this is an element of public policy that makes a difference to whether we enjoy economic security or not. This brings up the second task for the winner, namely employment generation.
The macroeconomic policy pursued in the past five years needs overhauling. The government has continued with fiscal consolidation, or shrinking the deficit, while mandating the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to exclusively target inflation leaving aside all other considerations. This has contracted demand. That high fiscal deficits and high inflation per se can never be good for an economy does not justify a permanently tight macroeconomic stance. The rationale given for one is that it is conducive to private investment, said to be shy of fiscal deficits and held back by inflation. Both the deficit and inflation have trended downward in the past five years, yet investment as a share of national income has remained frozen.
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The Hindu, 1 May, 2019, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/an-employment-oriented-economic-policy/article26996181.ece?homepage=true