The Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) Society president NK Singh said on Friday that there is a need to focus research on emerging challenges such as climate and energy transition, encouraging private investment in renewable energy and establishing closer partnership with states, as they remain central to implementation of reforms. Fifteenth Finance Commission Chairperson Singh was elected president of the IEG Society earlier this week after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped down from the post.
Former PM Singh, who had been the president of the IEG since 1992, said he was withdrawing from several active duties in the light of his advanced age and ‘indifferent health’, and suggested NK Singh’s name as president of the institute. Asked about his plans for the IEG, Singh said there is a need to focus on contemporary challenges.
“First the world has changed from when the Institute was created in 1952, our priorities have changed and there is need to really make it much more contemporary to the challenges of today, and what could these be: climate and energy transition, fuel pricing, carbon pricing, the social and economic consequences of the fuel transition because, after all, the bulk of the fossil fuel staff is in the poorer parts of India — Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha. These are also the parts which do not have renewable energy. It’s easier said that renewable is cheaper but this transition is going to be challenging,” Singh told The Indian Express.
He said there is a need to attract private investments in renewable energy, as climate issues remain central. “What can we do to crowd in private capital in renewable energy … How can we reduce perceived regulatory and other risks for private capital in funding the sustainable energy investments. This is one very broad emerging area that needs attention,” he said.
Macroeconomic management is another subject which requires further research, especially when there is no fiscal council at the Central government level. “Another important area is much closer partnership with states because in next 20-30 years states are going to be central in the story, in terms of implementation of the changes in factors of production: land, labour, capital…Quality of states annual economic survey can also be improved,” Singh said.
Singh has had strong ties with the IEG—as a student in the Delhi University and currently serving as a Life Trustee.