Economic Survey 2018: the key takeaways

The annual Economic Survey was tabled in Parliament.

Here are the highlights:

  • The Economic Survey has relied upon analysis of the new data to highlight 10 new economic facts:
  • Large increase in registered indirect and direct taxes
  • Formal non-agricultural payroll much greater than believed
  • States’ prosperity is positively correlated with their international and inter-State trade
  • India’s firm export structure is egalitarian
  • Clothing incentive package boosted exports of readymade garments
  • Indian parents’ preference for sons
  • Substantial avoidable litigation in tax arena which government action could reduce
  • To re-ignite growth, raising investment is more important than raising saving
  • Direct tax collections by States and local governments are significantly lower than those of their counterparts in other federal countries
  • Extreme weather adversely impacts agricultural yields


Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian addreses the media in New Delhi. 

Following are key takeaways from his presser:

  • “I will single out two achievements. One is the launch of the GST. There were bound to be teething challenges. Secondly, we had spoken about the twin balance sheet challenges. For the first time in 14 years India got the Sovereign Ratings upgrades.
  • “We need to see why the Indian economy de-coupled from the rest of the economy over 3-4 quarters. Our interest rates went up sharply. That affected our competitiveness. We see there is a robust revival. Directionally the economy seems to be picking up. Growth is picking up because the temporary impact of demonitisation has dissipated. Exports have picked up. Manufacturing export growth is about 11.3%. Exports are driving growth.
  • “The growth projection of 6.75% is higher than the CSO assessment. Inflation is higher in the second half than the first half. I think there is upside potential. Export growth could be greater. There is a chance that private investment could pick up. We need to watch oil prices carefully. My own view is that the govt. doesn’t have to do anything new or radical. They should finish what they started out. They should stabilise the GST. Finish privatising Air India. Head off macro economic pressures and possibility of a sudden stall from rising oil prices and sharp correction is stock prices.
  • “Since Nov,. 2016 there has been an increase in income tax files. GST tax payers increased by 50%. Interpreting GST revues has been really complicated.
  • “For the first time, we have estimates of which States export internationally. India’s investment and saving slowdown has been unusual. Re-igniting investment is more important than raising saving.
  • “As India emerges as one of world’s largest economies, it needs to gradually move from being a net consumer of knowledge to becoming a net producer.
  • “Lots to say about gender. We know the sex ratio in India is highly skewed. There is evidence of Son Meta Preference. Is the ‘last child’ more more male than female? Is the ratio more skewed towards male or female? We estimate there about 21 million unwanted girls in India.
  • “For the first time we have a chapter on science and technology. We have a chapter on the pendency of delays in the judicial department.
  • “Lessons for the future – Key challenges – education, employment and agriculture.
  • ”From crony capitalism to stigmatised capitalism.     
  • ”GST council shows that cooperative federalism is a technology for reforms in several other areas.”


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