What is the Economic Survey?
The annual Economic Survey is presented a day before the presentation of the annual budget. It serves as the official report of the economy, which the finance minister tables in Parliament. This year, the survey was tabled on Friday, the last working day before the budget’s presentation on February 29, 2016.
What does it contain?
The survey serves as the government’s view about the economy’s current state. It gives an overview about all sectors of the economy carrying indepth assessments backed by research. The survey’s outlook about each sector is muchwatched out for as it serves as a guide about which way the policies are likely to move.
What about the projections?
The survey puts out growth projections about the economy articulating reasons why the economy was likely to gather pace or slow down. For instance, this year, the survey has forecast that India’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at 7-7.75% in 2016-17. This is a cautious projection given that GDP is set to grow at 7.6% in 2015-16.
Does the survey recommend policy changes?
Most survey recommends policy changes, sometimes radical transformations that can be politically sensitive. The commentary accompanying each sector includes suggested measures. This year, for instance, the survey has suggested widening the tax base and bringing more individuals under the tax net.
Are these recommendations binding?
These recommendations are not binding and only serve as a guide of the official line of thinking. On many occasions, such recommendations have not always found reflection in the budget.
Who drafts the survey?
The chief economic advisor (CEA) is the principal author of the survey. This year’s survey has been piloted by CEA Arvind Subramanian and his team.