Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will table the Economic Survey in Parliament on July 4. Here's a lowdown.
What is the Economic Survey?
The annual Economic Survey is usually presented a day before the presentation of the annual budget. It serves as the official report of the economy. This year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will table it in Parliament on July 4 — a day before she presents the Union Budget for 2019-20 on July 5.
What does it contain?
It gives a detailed account of the state of the economy, prospects and the policy challenges. It carries sectoral overviews and comments on reform measures that are required. The survey's outlook serves as a marker about future policy moves.
Who drafts the Economic Survey?
The Economic Survey is authored by Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Krishnamurthy Subramanian, who was appointed as the CEA in December, and his team.
What about projections?
The survey puts out economic growth forecasts, giving out detailed reasons why it believes the economy will expand faster or decelerate.
Does the survey suggest policy changes?
Successive CEAs have used the Economic Survey to recommended policy changes, sometimes even sweeping measures. This year, for instance, the survey is widely expected to recommend some big ideas on how to use technology and reduce regulations to bring markets closer to the farmers. Across different sectors, there is fragmentation in markets. The focus now needs to be on make India an integrated market. For that, lots of regulatory and logistics barriers need to be removed. The survey will likely contain pointed policies to deal infirmities in India's farm economics.
Over the last two years, farmers have been protesting in several states, demanding better prices and debt write-offs. Low retail prices may be heartening to consumers, but persistently low food prices have meant that farmers' income have remained flat.
Are such recommendations binding?
The government isn't bound to follow these recommendations and it only serves as a policy guide. The Economic Survey, in the past, has favoured policy moves that come into conflict with the official line of thinking of the government in power. These do not necessarily serve as pointers to what to expect in the annual Budget. On many occasions, policy changes recommended in the Economic Survey have not been seen in Budget proposals.