Less of economy, more of legacy rewriting engage PM Economic Advisory Council

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 25: On the trails of the unveiling of the Union Budget on February 1, Economic Advisory Council to PM (EAC-PM) may be expected to bring to the public domain hard data to challenge notions of experts and set the agenda for the economy of the country. But the two visible outcomes of the EAC-PM in the last few days have been a report on national monuments and the chairman Bibek Debroy revisiting his arguments for taxing agricultural income.

On Wednesday, the EAC-PM released a report authored by Sanjeev Sanyal, Jayasimha K R, and Apurv Kumar Mishra, which essentially argued that the national monuments are located only in a few places and there is a need to take a relook at the guidelines so that there could be an even spread such attractions. “India has 3695 monuments declared as Monuments of National Importance (MNI). Since the list of MNI has not been comprehensively reviewed since independence, it has become unwieldy and needs to be immediately scrutinised/rationalized,” stated the report, which made predictable or even laymen propositions such as higher allocation of funds for the protection of MNI, revenue streams through tickets, events, fees and other sources be leveraged.

Debroy has since becoming Member of the Niti Aayog and subsequently as the chairman of the EAC-PM has been seen to be a prolific write of mythological books. He has brought out several books, while heading the EAC-PM, which is supposed to be a grouping to advise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on economic matters. The EAC-PM is stated within the political circle to have been especially created as a fallout of bitter war when former Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant ruled the think tank and the Members were said to have not been gathering even for a meeting, as vice chairman Arvind Panagariya and Rajiv Kumar were cut to size.

Since the constitution of the EAC-PM, there is no popular memory of there being any paper or report brought out by it on the economic issues. But Debroy and members of the EAC-PM indeed have been prolific columnists in the newspapers, setting narratives, which have popular political overtones such as the issue of dynasty in the judiciary.

As a Member of the Niti Aayog, Debroy in a presser had argued for taxation in agriculture above a threshold, but he had to take back his articulation within 24-hour after he faced raised eyebrows from the top functionaries of the Modi government. After being mum for at least four years, Debroy penned an article in a daily again to float the idea of taxing the agricultural income above a threshold.

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1 thought on “Less of economy, more of legacy rewriting engage PM Economic Advisory Council

  1. I understand the motive and reasoning behind taxing agriculture to a certain extent. One must seldom forget that India is still considered to be an agriculture driven economy by most nations, despite its charge towards industrialization.
    That being said, it is about time that we noticed changes in the budget allocations, especially with respect to salient sectors such as health, defence and more.
    Furthermore, as India is known to be a culturally rich and driven nation, it must prioritize the documentation and portrayal of monuments and relevant documents as departments such as the education department strives to bring about changes in the portrayal of ‘Indian history’ to the upcoming generations.

    Thank you for this article. A fantastic read to say the least.

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