Economic Survey 2020 Presents Thalinomic Success
Mithilesh Kumar Sinha
The Economic Survey is a report the government presents on the state of the economy in the past year, the key challenges it anticipates, and their possible solutions.
The Economic Survey is a crucial document as it provides a detailed, official version of the government’s take on the country’s economic condition.
It can also be used to highlight some key concerns or areas of focus — for example, in 2018, the survey presented by the then CEA Arvind Subramanian was pink in colour, to stress on gender equality.
The release of India’s Economic Survey for the year was well-timed. Since it came just before lunch, few could resist going straight to Chapter 11. This is not about bankruptcy, but “Thalinomics”, described as “the economics of a plate of food in India”. The idea is to create a special basket—a thali—of food items in some proportion to trace how expensive the basic Indian diet has become for the common man over the years. For this, it takes price data for imaginary vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals from 2006-07 to October 2019.
In keeping with recent tradition, the latest Economic Survey comes in two volumes. The second volume is an update on the performance of various sectors, while the first delve into a few selected topics ranging from the ‘economics of a thali’ to the importance of systemic trust. The survey, a detailed report card on the economic performance, was tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after President Ram Nath Kovind said the government is committed to make India a five trillion dollar economy by 2025. The government has estimated GDP expansion at 5 per cent for the current financial year ending on March 31. In the July to September quarter, economic growth slipped to 4.5 per cent.
Optimistic projection Economic Survey 2019-20 is aimed at infusing cautious hope in speculation about the state of the Indian economy and restoring trust. The Survey debunks the theory that free trade agreements (FTA) have not worked in India’s favour and resulted in a worsening of the trade deficit. Economic Survey 2020 talks of an “Assemble in India for the world” programme that could be integrated with the Make in India plan to create jobs—40 million well-paying ones by 2025. The Survey advocates that at a time when the China-US trade war is raging, India should step in to take benefit of the opportunity in export manufacturing and create jobs for its citizens.
Survey says India must focus on a group of industries, referred to as “network products”, where “production processes are globally fragmented and controlled by leading Multi-National Enterprises within their “producer-driven” global production networks. Examples of network products include computers, electronic and electrical equipment, telecommunication equipment, road vehicles etc”.
Economic Survey advocates 10 new ideas that benefit markets as well as the economy.
Mithilesh Kumar Sinha is a Finance Officer at Nagaland University, Lumami.