Economic Survey may prescribe bold reforms

It is the first economic survey of the Modi 2.0 government ahead of the first budget by India's only full-time woman finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (PTI File Photo)

A day ahead of the union budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to table Modi 2.0 government's first economic survey, which is likely to prescribe bold reforms on land, labour, capital and banking sectors in order to kick-start GDP growth, currently at a five-year low in the financial year 2018-19.

It is the first economic survey of the Modi 2.0 government ahead of the first budget by India's only full-time woman finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The economic survey for 2018-19 will be tabled by the finance minister in parliament at 12 noon.

The survey is authored by Chief Economic Advisor K V Subramanian, who had, before taking over as CEA, defended demonetisation among other achievements of the BJP-led government.

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The economic survey, a flagship document of the finance ministry reviews the performance of the economy in the past 12 months, outlines challenges and recommends measures to overcome them.

This year the survey is being presented in the backdrop of a rather challenging time for India when its growth rate has shrunk to 6.8% in 2018-19 and unemployment is at a 45-year high.

"Looking forward with excitement to table my first - and the new Government's first - Economic Survey in Parliament on Thursday. #EcoSurvey2019", Subramanian had tweeted on July 1.

Also Read: DH Explainer | Union Budget 2019: Economic Survey

However, economists are of the view that prescribing a reform roadmap to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment for a $5 trillion economy will be a difficult job for the new CEA, whose term is witnessing a five-year low GDP growth and millions of jobs have been lost after two back-to-back structural reforms – demonetisation and GST.

India's exports have slowed and private investments in new projects are at a 15-year low. The revenues under GST have also not kept pace.

Though sources said that the survey may peg the GDP growth at 7% for 2019-20, in order to achieve that, it will also prescribe some bitter pills to the government on reforms side in the course of next two to three years.

High on the agenda of the survey is the land, labour and capital reforms combined with a robust banking reform to give a boost to sagging investment in a stuttering economy. It is also expected to recommend steps to boost investment.

In the wake of a looming water crisis, the survey is expected to add a chapter on that too.

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