The pre-budget Economic Survey may have started on an optimistic note, but beneath that, it was a realistic account calling for the strongest action to tide over the current sluggishness in the economy. Authored by Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan, the survey was tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday, a day before he reads out his eighth general budget. In his introduction to the survey Rajan warned, “Slowdown is a wake-up call for increasing the pace of actions and reforms.”
GDP between 6.1%–6.7%
The survey forecast an improvement in India’s economy coming at the back of recovery of global markets and strong government policies. The Economic Survey predicted Gross Domestic Product growth of between 6.1 per cent and 6.7 per cent in 2013-14 with the understanding that “the downturn is more or less over and the economy is looking up”. While the economy grew robustly by 8.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent in 2009-10 and 2010-11, growth sharply plummeted in 2011-12 and 2012-13 and was pegged at 6.2 per cent and 5 per cent respectively; Rajan acceded to the 5 per cent growth estimated by the Central Statistical Office (CSO). In his introduction to the survey, Rajan said, “These are difficult times but India has navigated such times before and with good policies it will come through stronger”.
Trade gap a concern
Curbing gold import and making oil prices market-driven would help in bridging the trade gap, the survey said. Current account deficit remains a concern for the government which could be reduced through savings, Rajan said.