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India’s chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian (centre) along with key finance ministry officials releases the Economic Survey 2019-20 on Friday.  (Ramesh Pathania/Mint)
India’s chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian (centre) along with key finance ministry officials releases the Economic Survey 2019-20 on Friday. (Ramesh Pathania/Mint)

Economic Survey suggests promoting grassroots entrepreneurs

  • Creating wealth for everyone’s benefits among 10 new ideas for the Indian economy
  • Entrepreneurship has been a recurring theme of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s messaging lexicon

The role of grassroots entrepreneurs in creating wealth in their districts, markets enabling wealth creation, and removing anachronistic government interventions are among the 10 new ideas for the Indian economy prescribed by the Economic Survey 2019-20, which was presented in Parliament on Friday.

The annual report card of the government—which bears the imprimatur of chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian—comes a day before the government presents the Union budget, which will seek to address an economic downturn and distress in the rural economy, improve incomes and add new jobs.

With the government set to miss its fiscal deficit target for the third straight year, the other ideas included creating wealth for everyone’s benefits, the role of markets in enabling wealth creation, trust being a public good that increases with use, pro-business policies helping in providing equal opportunity, job creation by assembling in India for the world, and scaling banking sector in tandem with the economy.

Entrepreneurship has been a recurring theme of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) messaging lexicon.

“Since our economic model is based on entrepreneurship and innovation, we commit to simplifying and lowering tax rates…The above summary is based on the vision of Prime Minister Modi to build a technologically modern, entrepreneurial, rules-based economy that is secure from external/internal security threats and simultaneously able to build on its cultural, ecological and social assets," the BJP had said in its manifesto in the run-up to 17th Lok Sabha election.

The Modi government has set an ambitious task of turning India into a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25. The government’s persistent wooing of India Inc. to invest hasn’t borne the results yet, amid the domestic economy battling a severe demand slowdown.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first Independence Day speech after assuming office for his second term, lauded India Inc. and said that wealth creation is a national service.

In his message, the Prime Minister said he was committed not only to improving the ease of doing business, but also to improving the ease of living. “Wealth creation is a great national service," Modi had said.

“The need of the hour is to recognize and encourage the wealth creators of our nation. They should receive more honour. If wealth is not created, wealth cannot be distributed. Further, if wealth is not distributed we cannot uplift the poor sections of our society," added the Prime Minister in his address.

This comes in the backdrop of a slowdown with the National Democratic Alliance government facing criticism over the state of the economy and handling of national assets.

India’s economy grew 4.5% in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019-20, its slowest pace since March 2013, due to a sharp contraction in manufacturing output.

Inequality has also been rising. The country’s richest 10% control more than 74% of the national wealth, Oxfam India said in a recent report that highlights the need for Asia’s third-largest economy to plug a growing rich-poor gap.

The non-profit said the top 1% holds more than four times the wealth held by 953 million Indians, who make up the poorest 70% of the population.

The survey has projected India’s economy to grow at 6-6.5% in fiscal year 2020-21, starting 1 April.

The survey is a report the government presents on the state of the economy in the past one year, the key challenges it anticipates, and possible solutions.

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