CEA 'excited' to table Economic Survey in Parliament

KV Subramanian. Reuters file photo

Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian Tuesday said he was looking forward "with excitement" to presenting the new NDA government's first economic survey in parliament.

Subramanian is due to table the economic survey in parliament on Thursday, a day ahead of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's first union budget.

"Looking forward with excitement to table my first - and the new government's first - economic survey on Thursday," the CEA tweeted early on Tuesday in his first tweet in about three-and-a-half months.

Subramanian, who was appointed as the chief economic advisor to the finance minister in January this year, is expected to give wide-ranging suggestions to the government on freeing-up land, labour and capital to tackle a sharp slowdown in investment and push economic growth.

His survey comes at a time when India's GDP tanked to a five-year low of 6.8% in 2018-19 and unemployment rose to a 45-year high of 6.1%, ramping up pressure on the Modi government for fiscal stimulus, including tax cuts to boost consumption.

The survey is also expected to suggest technological reforms in banking space that uses data and analytics to screen borrowers and monitor them on a real-time basis.

“On land reforms, we need to look at the compensation part. The cost of money for businesses is equally important. Half of the investment woes are over once you fix these two,” Subramanian had told DH in an interview soon after taking over as CEA.

“Why does an ‘AAA’-rated borrower pay lower interest on the money he borrows than a ‘BBB’-rated borrower? It is because the probability of default is much lower with AAA-rated borrower. So, we have to fix the problem of default. Introducing technology in banking reforms is expected to solve that," he had said, indicating the focus of his survey would be on four areas of land, labour, capital and banking sector efficiency.

A flagship annual document of the finance ministry, the economic survey often provides a policy perspective to the Union Budget after reviewing the state of the economy in the past 12 months. It serves as a policy guide to the government.

The survey is likely to suggest the government on the creation of land banks and digitisation of land records. The other focus areas is expected to be water management and its conservation as India is staring at a looming water crisis.

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