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Economic Survey: Everything You Must Know

Published on Friday, February 03, 2017

What is it?

It is an annual document provided by Ministry of Finance. It is presented every year before presenting the union budget. The reason behind an economic survey is that the background knowledge will be furnished by the survey and then the Parliament can better appreciate the budget proposals. It provides an opportunity for the government to spell out its economic agenda. It summarizes all the major developmental programmes and the major policy initiatives of the government. This annual document will be presented in both the houses of the parliament during the budget session.


Our country’s first economic survey was presented in the financial year of 1950-1951. All the economic survey documents will be available in the Ministry of Finance website. We can find the economic survey documents from 1957-1958 onwards. After independence of our nation, we introduced budget and economic survey in the parliament but at that time both the budget and economic survey documents were circulated on the same day. It was in the year 1964, the economic survey document got separated from the budget and it was circulated in advance, so that the context to the budget can be provided.

Difference between Budget and Economic Survey?

Budget or Economic Survey words are never been mentioned in the constitution of India. Instead, Article 112 clearly mentions it as “annual financial statement” which is to be laid by the President of India every year in the parliament. The annual financial statement is called as budget. Thus, it is clear that budget is a constitutional obligation for union government, whereas economic survey finds no mention in the constitution nor it is any statutory obligation. The budget is prepared by the Ministry of Finance with utmost secrecy. Economic survey is a data which is already available in public but it is categorically arranged in a proper order and it is printed in one of the government presses.

Who prepares the Economic survey?

 First draft of economic Survey will be prepared by Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry, under the guidance of Chief Economic Advisor.
Consultation from senior officers in Ministry.
Scrutinized by Finance Secretary.
Approval by Finance Minister.
Most of the data are provided by Central Statistical Office (CSO)
Finally, it is presented before one day of budget to provide clear context to the budget.

Is it Constitutional Duty?

As mentioned before that Economic Survey is not a constitutional duty, rather it is a convention followed by the government. As, most of the developed countries publish economic survey, so even we are also following the same path.

What does it contain?

It is a government document and contains statistical data and also it provides an opportunity for the Chief Economic Advisor to provide impartial, economic objective analysis.


Economic survey for citizens will bring all the citizens to economic policy by providing data and analysis in a comprehensive manner. Citizen awareness and participation are key to the economic decision making. This is the major reason, why the economic division conduct and Chief Economic Advisor do extensive research to circulate the survey. 

Major reports:

The survey deals with an overview of the following issues:
  • State of the Indian Economy. 
  • Challenges. 
  • Fiscal Policy. 
  • Role of markets. 
  • Balance of Payments and Trade. 
  • Industrial, Agriculture, and services sector. 
  • Infrastructure, Energy, and Communications. 
  • Climate Change and Human Development. 


Finally, we could say that economic survey is said to be the report card of the country which highlights the previous performances and the areas which need to be focussed. At, the same time economic survey comes up with the estimated GDP and inflation rate for next year. This document acts like an important source for various economists, policy makers, government agencies, researchers, media and all those who are interested in the development of our economy.

Chief Economic Advisor: Arvind Subramanian.
Finance Secretary: Ashok Lavasa.
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