Critical Comments on Economic Survey of India 2013

Summary of Economic Survey of India 2013 starts with
"More than 6 Per Cent Growth Forecast for Next Fiscal Considerable Enhancement for Social Sector Spending India on Verge of Creating Quality Jobs to Seize ‘Demographic Dividend" 

India's growth at more than 6 percent is attributable to the external causes majorly. And for the first time, it is admitted that even the domestic causes can not be ignored.  External causes were attributing the monetary inflation has been admitted, but the real factor was missed here. To provide the stimulus the global recession-hit economy, the choices of sectors for stimulus were wrong. Due to this, CAD ( Current Account Deficit) has widened without much benefit to the overall economy. Stimulus was not strategically chosen can be easily inferred from the admission that there is a lower growth in agriculture and in industry, and  services sector has shown resilience to the external causes.  When two important sectors, where more than 80% of population is employed or dependent, show the lower growth even after the stimulus means that choice of allocation of stimulus was not appropriate.

Additionally, for improved agriculture growth the focus is still on improving the markets and inviting the private funding is being sought for. As if PPP is the ultimate solution to every problem of policy. Here Government should focus on impact from other sectors on the growth of agriculture. For example, policies related to the land sell/purchase, rise/fall of real estate sector, policies regarding availability of funds in the hands of farmers have impact on the agriculture growth. Here also, FDI in retail has been considered a panacea and it is argued that FDI will pave the way for technology and marketing, thereby improving overall conditions for agriculture. 

Then there is an interesting question can be raised here, which is deeply linked with this issue. One side Government is saying that the higher inflation is due to change in the food habit of the people. Last year, due to higher protein foods there was a pressure on food inflation. And this year, it is due to cereals. That means people of India are consuming higher protein foods and cereals, then why on Global Hunger Index India ranks at 15? 

There is a special chapter focusing on jobs. The future holds promise for India, if we are in a position to seize this 'demographic dividend'. It is argued that India needs to reduce the burden on the agriculture and increase the jobs in manufacturing and services. The growth in manufacturing is the lowest in the recent times, and it is well known fact that the growth in services is generally slow. Additionally, there is no supportive policy decisions are made for the making population of the country job ready. Nearly half the additions to the Indian labour force over the period 2011-30 will be in the age group 30-49. Is there any strategic planning for making them employable? Has GER improved equally and equitably? Can rural people compete with urban people on the same ground? Are there any policies which help in making equity in the job markets? The focus of the GoI is generally, the primary education. No doubt, it is the important area and can not be ignored at any costs. But given the large number of people will be attaining job ready age, the priority must be about the employ ability.  If the inputs are not provided at this juncture, then expectations of having reduced or no vulnerability is an utopian dream.

..................... to be continued......