Economic Survey 2018-19

The Economic Survey 2018-19 was tabled in the parliament by the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs. The Key Highlights of Economic Survey 2018-19 are as follows:

  • India’s GDP (gross domestic product) is projected to grow at a rate of 7 per cent in the fiscal year 2019-20.
  • The survey views Indian Economy as either being in a virtuous or a vicious cycle and never in equilibrium.
  • Citing the example of China, the survey asks the government to take investment rates to 35 per cent. The survey recognizes the private investment as the key driver that drives demand, creates capacity, increases labour and productivity, introduces new technology, allows creative destruction, and generates jobs.
  • Calling for predictable actions from policy-makers, the survey recommends using of labels such as ‘Standstill’ versus ‘Ratchet up’ to categorise various policies as a measure to reduce economic policy uncertainty and ensure a stable investment climate.
  • The survey calls for endeavours to create data as a public good while considering the privacy implications and inherent fairness of data being used noting that the marginal cost of data has declined exponentially while its marginal benefit to society has increased manifold.
  • Highways are a catalyst for economic growth. The investment in highways has grown more than three times to Rs 1.58 lakh crore in 2018-19. The availability of funds for financing large projects remains a bottleneck since private investment in the sector remained ‘tardy’ as investors are interested in putting their money on a short-term basis.
  • The survey government to grant private sector access to ‘select’ databases for commercial use on a chargeable basis, to ease pressure on government finances and sale of some datasets to analytics agencies to help them predict demand, discover untapped markets or innovate new products.
  • Citing the example of Rajasthan where labour reforms were introduced in 2014 the survey calls for deregulating labour law restrictions to create more number of jobs in the economy.
  • India is set to witness a sharp slowdown in population growth in the next two decades since India has entered the next stage of demographic transition owing to the rapid decline in the total fertility rate (TFR) is expected to be below replacement level fertility by 2021.
  • To tackle tax evasion and wilful defaults, the survey recommends invoking the doctrine of ‘pious obligation’ as well as blending principles of behavioural economics with the spiritual norm.
  • Highlighting the vision for electric vehicle mobility in the country, the survey recognizes the enormous potential of electric vehicles not only because they are environment-friendly but also because India can emerge as a hub for the EV market, thereby generating employment and growth opportunities.
  • In the 2018 Ease of Doing Business, Report India lags behind on the indicator for enforcing contracts climbing just one rank from 164 to 163. The survey recommends clearing backlog in courts by reducing the number of holidays and appointing more judges to enhance the productivity of the judicial system.
  • Improving water usage must become a national priority. The survey calls for devising policies to benefit farmers by focusing on irrigation water productivity and thrust on micro-irrigation to improve the water use efficiency.

The survey outlined the substantial progress made by the government on women empowerment, social protection schemes, education, health and skilling  and employment by initiating many plans like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP), Ujjwala Scheme, Poshan Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandara Yojana, etc. to mainstream women and make women active agents of change in the society.

The Survey also outlined the progress made in the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) that was initiated in 2014 to achieve universal sanitation coverage by October 2, 2019.

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