Economic Survey to focus on farmers, jobs, women

Economic Survey to focus on farmers, jobs, women

Other than the usual economic growth forecast, this year's Economic Survey is expected to recommend the government on consolidation of reform measures taken since the November 2016 demonetisation, so that the benefit of policies reaches the last man in the queue.

The survey's author Arvind Subramanian, who is known for giving a new theme every year, may talk more on how the existing policies can help benefit farmers, job seekers, health and education sectors, and women.

The Economic Survey for 2017-18 will be presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday. This time, the Survey is coming two days ahead of the Budget, unlike the previous years when it was followed by the Budget the next day.

The Centre has launched a number of programmes such as 'Mudra Yojana', 'Startup', 'Stand Up India' and others, but they have not yielded any big gains so far. The survey may lay down a road map on making them effective ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Besides, the survey is also expected to focus on accelerating the manufacturing sector, the fulcrum of the government's 'Make in India' programme. The Centre wants to raise the share of manufacturing to extent of 25% in India's GDP. However, it is hovering around 16% for more than two decades.

Another priority will be on increasing exports through new and emerging markets across the globe, as also to reduce gold imports. But agriculture, its income and amelioration of farm sector distress is expected to occupy much of Subramanian's attention in the wake of agrarian problems eating into BJP's vote share in the Gujarat Assembly elections. The government has to face Assembly polls in four crucial states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan, before it plunges into the 2019 polls.

Subramanian in his survey in 2015-16 had given the concept of JAM trinity or linking Jandhan and bank accounts for the benefit of poor. This was successfully implemented by the government in various welfare programmes. A year later, the chief economic advisor talked of universal basic income (UBI). This is still in the incubation stage.

 

In the 2016-17 Survey, Subramanian had vigorously criticised the methodology of rating agencies, it remains to be seen how does he compliment them this year after Moody's recently upgraded India's investment rating.

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