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Economic Survey may give policy prescriptions for energy, logistics

This will be the first survey of authored by new Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Krishnamurthy Subramanian and his team

April 24, 2019 / 05:25 PM IST

The government has already begun work on the Economic Survey for 2019-20 and plans to provide policy guidance to sectors like energy and logistics this time.

“The themes are still getting finalised. We are planning to work on a couple of big ideas this time," a senior government official told Moneycontrol.

Apart from these sectors, the focus of the survey this year would also be on sectors like judiciary and agriculture.

“The economy now needs big picture change. We are still working on the details. But broadly, these are the themes that we will focus on," the official said.

This will be the first survey of authored by new Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Krishnamurthy Subramanian and his team.


Economists and policy experts will keenly looking for signature prescriptions of Subramanian’s first survey. He was appointed as the CEA in December, is a PhD from Chicago-Booth and a top-ranking IIT-IIM alumnus. He is a leading expert in banking, corporate governance and economic policy.

In previous academic roles, Subramanian served on the finance faculty at Goizueta Business School at Emory University in the United States. He is an MBA and PhD in financial economics at Chicago’s Booth School of Business under the advice of Professor Luigi Zingales and  former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Professor Raghuram Rajan.

On account of this year's budget being an interim one, economic survey, which details the state of the economy, was not tabled in the Parliament.

The annual Economic Survey is usually presented a day before the presentation of the annual budget. In an election year it presented ahead of the full budget’s presentation in July.

The survey 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.

The survey puts out economic growth forecasts, giving out detailed reasons why it believes the economy will expand faster or decelerate.

Successive CEAs have used the Economic Survey to recommended policy changes, sometimes even sweeping measures. In 2017, for instance, the survey articulated the need for a Universal Basic Income (UBI), a poverty alleviation plan involving direct money transfer to people’s bank accounts.

Also read: New CEA Subramanian’s first Eco Survey may suggest big regulatory changes to solve agrarian distress

The government is not bound to follow these recommendations and only serve 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 reflected in budget proposals.

The new government, elected after general elections that will end in May, will present a full budget in July along with the Economic Survey.

The Economic Survey in 2018 had pegged GDP growth for 2018-19 at 7-7.5 percent. The survey had also flagged various hurdles the economy and its sectors would face, including the threat from rising oil prices and climate change.

In the last Economic Survey, the then CEA Arvind Subramanian had said in the survey that the government cannot rule out a pause in its fiscal consolidation plan in the coming financial year.

Kamalika Ghosh
first published: Apr 24, 2019 11:37 am

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