Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey for 2020-’21 in Parliament’s Budget Session on Friday. The survey projected that India’s Gross Domestic Product will grow at a rate between 6% and 6.5% during the next financial year. The survey predicted industrial growth to be 2.5%. However, it said that there is a chance of a widening of the fiscal deficit.
The session began with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of two Houses of Parliament. The president said the amended law fulfilled Mahatma Gandhi’s dream, which triggered an uproar from the Opposition. Addressing media before the session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he hoped for detailed discussions on the economy.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget on Saturday. The first phase of the Budget Session will conclude on February 11, while the second part of the session will begin from March 2 and end on April 3.
Here are the day’s updates:
6.04 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the Economic Survey 2019-’20 focuses on creating wealth for the citizens of the country. “It outlines a multi-faceted strategy to achieve a $5 trillion economy through enterprise, exports, ease of doing business and more,” he tweets.
3.32 pm: The Economic Survey focuses on enabling imports of components so that they can be assembled in India and then exported to create jobs, says Subramanian.
3.29 pm: “There is no better way to relate economics to the common person than by looking at the price of a plate of food paid by an Indian,” he says. “Thalis have become more affordable since 2006-07.”
3.28 pm: The Economic Survey claims that India’s aspiration to become a $5 trillion economy depends critically on two factors – strengthening the invisible hand of the market and supporting it with the hand of trust.
3.25 pm: Subramanian says all growth has slowed down in all “groups of countries”. “If wealth had not been eroded by wilful defaulters, we could have spent almost double the amount on social sectors,” he says.
3.15 pm: “Pro-business policies provide opportunities, while pro-crony policies favour incumbents, as per evidence,” the chief economic advisor says. “When there are large firms whose financial statements are not dependable, it creates ripple effects, affecting credibility of statements of other firms too.”
3.12 pm: The economic slowdown since 2017 has been due to the “lagged effect” of reduction in investments from 2013 that occurred due to “credit boom-bust”, Subramanian says.
3.10 pm: “Firms that borrowed a lot during 2008-’12 invested less during 2013-’17,” the chief economic advisor says.
3.07 pm: The Economic Survey’s theme for this year is wealth creation, Subramanian says, adding that the 2019-’20 survey’s is a “synthesis of the old and the new”.
3.02 pm: Addressing a press conference, Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian has said: “We have a slowdown in the Indian economy, part of it is because of the global economy slowing down in 2019.”
1.27 pm: Agriculture and allied sectors expected to grow at 2.8% in the upcoming financial year. Growth in the current year is estimated at 2.9%
1.25 pm: Industrial growth in the 2019-’20 period is estimated at 2.5%, according to the Economic Survey.
1.22 pm: The Economic Survey 2019-’20 projects Gross Domestic Product to grow at 6.0%-6.5% in 2020-’21 financial year.
12.58 pm: The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 11 am on Saturday.
12.57 am: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tables the Economic Survey in the Parliament.
12.09 pm: Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian speaks about the Economic Survey. “Our team has done a lot of hard work,” he says, according to The Indian Express. “The team has prepared the second economic survey in six months.”
12.07 pm: “My government is determined to achieve the $5 trillion economy it has set as a target for itself in this term,” says Kovind. The president has concluded his address.
12.01 pm: Kovind condemns atrocities against minorities in Pakistan and asks the international community to the required action.
11.58 am: The government is working to provide at least 1.5 times of the cost of production to farmers in the country, the president says.
11.55 am: Kovind says that a database has been made to track crimes against women and children. He says this will help the country’s security forces and investigating agencies.
11.51 am: “The government’s initiatives ensured two lakh people did their Haj [pilgrimage] – a record number,” Kovind says. “India is the first country in which the entire Haj process has been digitised and is done online.”
11.47 am: In his address, the president highlights that the Kartarpur corridor has been completed “in record time to open it up for the pilgrims”. The corridor connects the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib shrine in Pakistan’s Narowal district. The gurdwara is considered to be the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. He is believed to have settled after his travels and is also laid to rest there.
11.42 am: Kovind says he is happy that Mahatma Gandhi’s wish has been fulfilled through the Citizenship Amendment Act. An uproar followed briefly after the president’s remarks.
11.36 am: The president says work done by the Centre on the ground-level in the last five years has helped India’s rank on several international ranking indexes. “On the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, India has jumped 79 ranks to stand at 63rd. On the index of resolving insolvency, India has jumped from 108th to 52nd,” he says.
11.28 am: “The removal of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution by two-thirds majority by both the Houses of Parliament is not only historical but it has also paved the way for similar development of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” says Kovind.
11.17 am: “My government believes that mutual discussions and debates further strengthen democracy,” Kovind says. “At the same time, any kind of violence in the name of protest weakens the society and the country.”
The president’s remarks come amid nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
11.13 am: Kovind praises the “maturity” of the people of the country after the Supreme Court delivered the Ayodhya verdict.
11.08 am: “This decade is very important for India,” Kovind says. “In this decade, 75 years of our Independence will be completed. With the efforts of my government, in the last five years, a strong foundation has been laid to make this decade India’s decade and this century India’s century.”
11.05 am: President Ram Nath Kovind begins his address to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.
10.40 am: “We all should make sure that in this session, we lay a strong foundation for this decade,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells reporters before the Budget Session begins, according to ANI. “This session will be focussed mainly on economic issues. I want that in both Houses there are good debates on these issues.” Modi says he is hoping there will be a good debate on economic matters.
10.33 am: Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrives in Parliament ahead of the beginning of the Budget Session, ANI reports.
10.24 am: Opposition leaders, including Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, protest outside Parliament against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, ANI reports. Senior Congress leaders Motilal Vohra, Ahmed Patel, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury and AK Antony are present at the protest, PTI reports.
10.05 am: Copies of the Economic Survey have been brought to Parliament, ANI reports.