There was a break of two years in organizing the EEC. As one attending it for the longest time (from 1973), I have been appreciative of the opportunity it provided to interact with policymakers in Delhi and get updated on the performance of different sectors. Director General, PIB, Frank Noronha and his team revived it organising a series of regional EECs where a few economic ministers visited the regions and followed it up with a two-day conference in New Delhi.
The setting was grand: the EEC was organized at the sprawling National Media Centre with excellent facilities for hosting over 300. With the involvement of his senior colleagues, Dr Ira Joshi, D S Mallik and others, the two-day conference provided for interactions with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, followed by sessions with Nitin Gadkari (Road Transport & Highways), Dharmendra Pradan (Petroleum & Natural Gas), Nirmala Sitharaman (Commerce & Industry), Venkaiah Naidu (Information & Broadcasting), Arvind Panagariya (NITI Aayog), Suresh Prabhu (Railways) and Ravishankar Prasad (IT) . The presentations and the clarifications provided a mid-term review of the performance of these different sectors.
At the dinner hosted by Finance Minister, secretaries of the Ministry were present and provided clarifications. Jaitley spent over an hour freely interacting with the financial journalists.
The highlight was the participation of around 80 economic journalists of which 50 were from states outside Delhi. A welcome feature was the invitation extended to small, specialised publications and regional media outfits.