Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday criticised the Economic Survey 2019, claiming that the government seems to be pessimistic about the Indian economy.
The Economic Survey is an annual report written by the chief economic advisor, which lays out the state of the country’s economy, presented in the run-up to the Union Budget. The survey usually contains a summary of the performance of major development programmes, the government’s policy initiatives, and a forecast of the economy’s prospects. The survey also contains sectoral overviews and comments on reform measures that are required.
“It appears to me that the government, speaking through the Economic Survey, is pessimistic about the economy,” Chidambaram said in a statement released on Twitter, soon after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the survey in Parliament. The Congress leader also termed the survey “self-congratulatory”.
“The Economic Survey 2018-19 is the first of the new government and the first under the new Finance Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman,” he said. “The first sentence of Volume-1, Chapter 01 is self-congratulatory (“During the last five years, India’s economy has performed well.”). I looked for the Outlook for 2019-20. It is in Volume-2, Chapter 01, but there is only a bland statement that ‘growth of the economy expected to be 7 per cent in 2019-20’.”
The former finance minister said that the survey makes no sector-wise projections of economic growth. He said that the survey flags a slowing growth rate, shortfall in revenue, the need to find resources without compromising the fiscal deficit target, impact of oil prices on the current account deficit and recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission on the Centre’s finances.
“I am afraid none of this is positive or encouraging,” Chidambaram added.
‘Worrying signs’, says Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the survey pointed to “worrying signs” for the country’s economy.
“Economic Survey presented in the Parliament today signals towards worrying signs for our economy,” Kejriwal tweeted. “GDP growth rate is virtually stagnant and all indicators point that we are in a slowdown.”
The Economic Survey has said that India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate needs to be 8% for its economy to be worth $ 5 trillion by 2024. It said the general fiscal deficit was estimated at 5.8% of the Gross Domestic Product in 2018-’19, while the Gross Fiscal Deficit was 3.4% of GDP for 2018-’19. The survey emphasises the need for growth in private sector investment.