Economic Survey of India: 2020 – 21

Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Economic Affairs
Economic Division
North Block
New Delhi-110001

DATE: January, 2021

Economic Survey 2020-21 is an ardent tribute to the immortal human spirit of grit and compassion encapsulated by the tireless battle against the pandemic by our frontline COVID-19 warriors. In the midst of the most unfathomable global health emergency experienced in modern history, the resolve of each Indian helped find its way from the darkness of ‘lives vs livelihoods’to the glow of ‘#SavingLives&Livelihoods’. The foresight of our collective vision to battle this pandemic became evident when policy insights and implementation at the Centre, State and local level converged to initiate a V-shaped economic recovery. This spirit resonated in the recent Team India’s victory in Australia where their resilience to rebound from 36 all out to winning the Test series was a V-shaped performance indeed! Similarly, after experiencing a sharp contraction of 23.9% in first quarter of 2020-21, India is expected to be the fastest growing economy in the next two years. Projections by various national and international agencies including the IMF project this resilience of the Indian economy.

Through this year, as India bravely fought the global pandemic, it charted its own unique trajectory – showing remarkable resilience, be it fighting the virus or ensuring economic recovery. This resilience is driven by the strength of our systems that enforced the graded public health measures, ramped up the health response, ensured free food grains to 80 crore people and gave momentum to the economic recovery. India derived its strength from the support of 137 crore Indians who practised social distancing, wore masks and industriously contributed to the fight.

Team@Eco Survey, 2020-21 recognisesthe integral role of effective policymaking in charting the path to economic growth and social development. The upturn in the economy while avoiding a second wave of infections makes India a sui generis case in strategic policymaking, of being fearless to choose the road less travelled by; for in the end, that makes all the difference. India’s human-centric policy response to the pandemic, tailored to India’s unique vulnerabilities, demonstrated the power of upholding self-belief under immense uncertainty. India transformed the short-term trade-off between lives and livelihoods into a win-win in the medium to long-term that saves both lives and livelihoods. Empowered by vision and foresight, India turned this crisis into an opportunity by ramping up its health and testing infrastructure and implementing a slew of seminal reforms to strengthen the long-term growth potential of the economy.

Clarity of objectives is imperative in policymaking as the various macro-economic policy choices always present inherent trade-offs. The Survey makes the case for continued focus on economic growth as the most important objective for India at its stage of development. Survey, then, delineates the constituents that would strengthen effectiveness of policymaking – continued reforms, innovation, timely regulatory support and withdrawal of forbearance. Continuing the endeavours of previous Surveys to relate economics to a common person, this year the Survey constructs an index of ‘the bare necessities’ across States in India.

Digital Technology has been the ‘sprint runner’ of this year that enabled us to tide over the disruptive effects of the pandemic. As a recognition of its role, the Survey this year has gone digital. To enhance the e-readability, for the first time, the aligning of the text in the Survey is in a single column. We chose to continue with the popular tradition of presenting the Survey in two volumes. Volume I, attempts to provide evidence based economic analyses of the challenges of policymaking and tools to make it more effective. Volume II reviews recent developments in the major sectors of the economy with a focus on the challenges faced due to the pandemic this year. This would serve as the ready reckoner for the existing status and outlook for the sectors.

The Economic Survey attributes its existence and popularity to the collaborative effort of all Ministries and Departments of Government of India, the prodigiousresource base of the Indian Economic Service officers, valuable inputs of researchers, consultants and think tanks both within and outside the government and the consistent support of all officials of the Economic Division, Department of Economic Affairs. The Survey has made a sincere effort to live up to the expectation of being an indispensable guide on performance, challenges and prospects of the Indian economy.

As our former President Dr A.P.J.Abdul Kalam said “When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had…..We only need to find them and move on with our lives”. This year is a testimony to the resilience and intrinsic strength of the fundamentals of the Indian society and the economy. We present this year’s Survey with a deep sense of confidence that Indians have demonstrated to come out victorious against any adversity. The Survey salutes this self-belief of 137 crore Indians

Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian
Chief Economic Adviser
Ministry of Finance
Government of India



• Preface
• Saving Lives and Livelihoods amidst a Once-in-a-Century Crisis
• Does Growth lead to Debt Sustainability? Yes, But Not Vice- Versa!
• Does India’s Sovereign Credit Rating Reflect Its Fundamentals? No!
• Inequality and Growth: Conflict or Convergence?
• Healthcare takes Centre Stage, Finally!
• Process Reforms
• Regulatory Forbearance an emergency medicine, not staple diet!
• Innovation: Trending Up but Needs Thrust, Especially from the Private Sector
• JAY Ho! PM‘JAY’ Adoption and Health outcomes
• The Bare NecessitiesPDF File


• Preface
• State of the Economy in 2020-21: A Macro View
• Fiscal Developments
• External Sector
• Monetary Management and Financial Intermediation
• Prices and Inflation
• Sustainable Development and Climate Change
• Agriculture & Food Management
• Industry and Infrastructure
• Services
• Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development



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