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Economic Survey 2017-18

A series of major reforms undertaken over the past year will allow real GDP growth to reach 6.75 percent this fiscal and will rise to 7.0 to 7.5 percent in 2018-19, thereby re-instating India as the world’s fastest growing major economy. This was stated in the Economic Survey 2017-18 presented in the parliament recently.

Economy

A series of major reforms undertaken over the past year will allow real GDP growth to reach 6.75 percent this fiscal and will rise to 7.0 to 7.5 percent in 2018-19, thereby re-instating India as the world’s fastest growing major economy. This was stated in the Economic Survey 2017-18 presented in the parliament recently. It said that the reform measures undertaken in 2017-18 can be strengthened further in 2018-19.

The survey highlights that against the emerging macroeconomic concerns, policy vigilance will be necessary in the coming year, especially if high international oil prices persist or elevated stock prices correct sharply, provoking a “sudden stall” in capital flows. Over the medium term, three areas of policy focus stand out: Employment: finding good jobs for the young and burgeoning workforce, especially for women. Education: creating an educated and healthy labor force. Agriculture: raising farm productivity while strengthening agricultural resilience. Above all, India must continue improving the climate for rapid economic growth on the strength of the only two truly sustainable engines—private investment and exports.

The Economic Survey has relied upon analysis of the new data to highlight ten new economic facts:

  1. There has also been a large increase in voluntary registrations, especially by small enterprises that buy from large enterprises wanting to avail themselves of input tax credits.
  2. India’s formal sector, especially formal non-farm payroll, is substantially greater than what it currently is believed to be.
  3. For the first time in India’s history, data on the international exports of states has been dwelt in the Economic Survey.  Such data indicates a strong correlation between export performance and states’ standard of living.
  4. India’s exports are unusual in that the largest firms account for a much smaller share of exports than in other comparable countries.
  5. The Rebate of State Levies (ROSL) has increased exports of ready-made garments (man-made fibers) by about 16 per cent but not of others.
  6. Indian society exhibits a strong desire for a male child.  It pointed out that most parents continued to have children until they get number of sons.
  7. The tax departments in India have gone in for contesting against in several tax disputes but also with a low success rate which is below 30 per cent.
  8. Extrapolating the data the survey indicated that growth in savings did not bring economic growth but the growth in investment did.
  9. The survey mentions that collections of direct taxes by Indian states and other local governments, where they have powers to collect them is significantly lower than their counterparts in other federal countries.
  10. The survey captures the footprints of climate change on the Indian territory and consequent adverse impact on agricultural yields.  Extreme temperature increases and deficiency in rainfall have been captured on the Indian map and the graphical changes in agricultural yields are brought out from such data.  The impact was found to be twice as large in un-irrigated areas as in irrigated ones.

Pink-Color Economic Survey 2017-18

The Pink-color Economic Survey 2017-18 lays special emphasis on Gender and Son meta-preference, while providing an assessment of India’s performance on gender outcomes relative to other economies.

The Survey takes into account that Gender equality is an inherently multi-dimensional issue. Accordingly, assessments have been made based on three specific dimensions of gender, ie Agency (relates to women’s ability to make decisions on reproduction, spending on themselves, spending on their households and their own mobility and health), Attitudes (relate to attitudes about violence against women/wives, and the ideal number of daughters preferred relative to the ideal number of sons) and Outcomes (relate to ‘son preference’ measured by sex ratio of last child, female employment, choice of contraception, education level, age at marriage, age at first birth and physical or sexual violence experienced by women) which aim to reflect the status, role and empowerment of women in the society.

The key findings of the assessment made in the Survey include: Over the last 10-15 years, India’s performance improved on 14 out of 17 indicators of women’s agency, attitudes, and outcomes. On seven of them, the improvement has been such that India’s situation is comparable to that of a cohort of countries after accounting for levels of development.

The Survey encouragingly notes that gender outcomes exhibit a convergence pattern, improving with wealth to a greater extent in India than in similar countries so that even where it is lagging, it can expect to catch up over time. The Survey, however, cautions that on several other indicators, notably employment, use of reversible contraception, and son preference, India has some distance to traverse because development has not proved to be an antidote.

Economic Survey 2017-18 states that within India, there is significant heterogeneity, with the North-Eastern states (a model for the rest of the country) consistently out-performing others and not because they are richer; hinterland states are lagging behind but the surprise is that some southern states do less well than their development levels would suggest.

The Economic Survey 2017-18 notes the challenge of gender is long-standing, probably going back millennia, so all stakeholders are collectively responsible for its resolution.

The Survey thus recommends that India must confront the societal preference, even meta-preference for a son, which appears inoculated to development. The skewed sex ratio in favor of males led to the identification of “missing” women. But there may be a meta-preference manifesting itself in fertility stopping rules contingent on the sex of the last child, which notionally creates “unwanted” girls, estimated at about 21 million, adds the Survey. Consigning these odious categories to history soon should be society’s objective, opines the Survey.

The survey acknowledges that government’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Sukanya Samridhi Yojanaschemes, and mandatory maternity leave rules are all steps in the right direction. The Survey states that just as India has committed to moving up the ranks in Ease of Doing Business indicators, a similar commitment should be endeavored on the gender front.

Agriculture

Economic Survey 2017-18 says that with growing rural to urban migration by men, there is ‘feminisation’ of agriculture sector, with increasing number of women in multiple roles as cultivators, entrepreneurs, and labourers.

Indian Farmers are adapting to farm mechanization at a faster rate in comparison to recent past. This was stated in Economic Survey. Over the year, the shift has been towards the use of mechanical and electrical sources of power.

Rs.20,339 crore has been approved by the Government in 2017-18 to meet various obligations arising from interest subvention being provided to the farmers on short term crop loans, as also loans on post-harvest storages meets an important input requirement of the farmers in the country, specially small and marginal farmers who are the major borrowers.

Agricultural R&D is the main source of innovation, which is needed to sustain agricultural productivity growth in the long-term. Economic Survey says that total 209 new Varieties/hybrids tolerant to various biotic and abiotic stresses with enhanced quality have been developed for Cereals, Pulses, Oilseeds, commercial and Forage crops.

Health

The Economic Survey 2017- 18 reiterates India’s commitment to achieve the targets under Sustainable Development Goals-3 (SDG-3) with some of them also aligned with the National Health Policy 2017.

The Survey takes note of the shift in the disease burden from Communicable Diseases to Non-Communicable Diseases in the country between 1990 and 2016. The Survey mentions that Child and Maternal Malnutrition continues to be the most challenging risk factor for health loss in India in 2016. The other key risk factors include air pollution, dietary risks, high blood pressure and diabetes etc.

The Survey notes that there has been significant improvement in the health status of individuals in India as life expectancy at birth has increased by 10 years during the period 1990 to 2015. The Survey, however, notes with concern that there are wide differences in the average prices of diagnostic tests across cities which need to be addressed by standardising rates to reduce Out of Pocket Expenses (OPE) on health services.

The Economic Survey 2017-18 takes note of the basic fact that quality of hygiene and sanitation has significant impact on improving the health outcomes. With the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on 2nd October, 2014, the sanitation coverage in rural India has increased substantially from 39 per cent in 2014 to 76 percent in January, 2018.

Education

The Economic Survey 2017- 18 highlights Government of India’s commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG- 4) for education. It mentioned the significant progress made in universalisingprimary education, with substantial improvement in the enrolment and completion rates of education of children in both primary and elementary school. The Survey takes note of the increased percentage of schools which comply with the Student Classroom Ratio (SCR) and Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) at the all India level.

Social Infrastructure

On the subject of “Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development”, bridging the gender gaps in education, skill development, employment, earnings and reducing social inequalities prevalent in the society have been the underlying goals of the development strategy to enhance human capabilities. The Survey notes that India is poised to grow as one of the leading knowledge economies where education, skill development and health will remain priorities for the Government.

Environment and Climate Change

The Chapter on Sustainable Development, Energy and Climate Change notes India’s commitment to environment and climate change that is reflected in the number of actions in supporting sustainable development goals while retaining reliance on cleaner energy, including cleaner, greener coal.

The Survey expresses concern over air pollution in Delhi with the onset of winter due to various factor. It ascribes four main reasons for Delhi’s worsening air quality – crop residue, biomass burning, vehicular emissions and redestributed road dust, industries, power plants and winter temperature inversion, humidity and absence of wind. It suggests that the solution is to address each source problem systematically, coordination between agencies and Central and State Governments and sustained civic engagement.

It mentions the adverse impact of indoor pollution on women and children, adding that access to modern energy sources can reduce the amount of time spent on collective of firewood, as well as lead to a positive impact on the education and employment of girls.

Science and Technology

Looking at publications and patents in Science & technology in India can help assess the productivity and quality of Indian research. In 2013, India ranked 6th in the world in scientific publications.

According to the WIPO, India has the world’s 7th largest Patent Filing Office. In 2015, India registered 45,658 patents.

As India emerges as one of the world’s largest economics, it needs to gradually move from being a net consumer of knowledge to becoming a net producer.

To read the complete Economic Survey 2017-18, click here.

Source : PIB

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