Economic Survey 2021: 3 things to watch out for



The Economic Survey for 2020-21 is set to be tabled in Parliament on January 29, ahead of the upcoming Budget presentation.

The report is prepared by the Economics Division of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the guidance of the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA).

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the report in Parliament, following which CEA KV Subramanian will hold a press conference at 2.30 pm.

The Economic Survey is usually presented a day ahead of the Budget. This year, it will be released earlier since the Budget for FY21 will be presented on February 1, which is a Monday.

Also read: Economic Survey Explained | Growth, recovery, pain points, what to watch out for and other things you need to know

The report gives an insight into how macro-economic indicators related to agriculture, infrastructure, employment, inflation, healthcare, foreign trade, etc. have performed during the fiscal year.

The Economic Survey will also give some explanation of the reasons behind the performance of the indicators, and provides information on how the government’s schemes have fared.

It also provides forecasts and outlook related for indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment.

Also read: KV Subramanian | All you need to know about India’s CEA, the architect of Economic Survey 2021

In this year’s report, it is important to look out for the commentary on the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are three things to watch out for:

GDP outlook

Most economic activity was halted in April and May 2020 due the COVID-induced lockdown, and the report will likely give insight into how this will impact GDP growth in the next few quarters and fiscal year.

According to first advance estimates of the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Indian economy will contract 7.7 percent in FY21.

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Comments related to the pandemic

It will be crucial to note what the Economic Survey says about the fallout of the pandemic, and the ongoing recovery. The report could shed some light on the economic impact of staggered easing of restrictions.

The report might also comment on the jobs lost due to the economic disruption. According to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the country’s unemployment rate had exceeded 20 percent in April and May 2020, and declined to 9.1 percent in December.

Farm laws

The Economic Survey 2021 will also provide some insight into the new farm laws, against the backdrop of the ongoing farmers protests at Delhi’s border points.

In September 2020, the Centre had passed three laws to reform the agriculture sector – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.