Budget 2018: Tabled in the Parliament ahead of Budget 2018, the Economic Survey 2018 has given the topmost priority to social infrastructure like education, health, and social protection. “Utmost priority to social infrastructures like education, health, and social protection is given by the Government to engineer an inclusive and sustainable growth for India,” a government press release said on Monday. The pre-Budget 2018 document, under “Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development”, says bridging the gender gaps in education, skill development, employment, earnings and reducing social inequalities prevalent in the society have been the underlying goals of government’s development strategy. Further, the survey notes that India is poised to grow as one of the leading knowledge economies, where education, skill development and health will remain priorities for the government.
Tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before Budget 2018 in Parliament, the Survey adds that government has been enhancing the expenditure on human capital along with adopting measures to improve the efficiency of expenditure by convergence of schemes. “The expenditure on social services by the Centre and States as a proportion of GDP had remained in the range of 6 per cent during 2012-13 to 2014-15. Expenditure on Social services stands at 6.6 per cent in 2017-18 (BE),” says the survey released ahead of Budget 2018.
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As the way forward, the Economic Survey 2017-18 recommends that though macro-economic growth and efficient markets are essential, it is necessary to equally ensure that benefits of growth are equitably accessible to all citizens to make growth broad-based. In the conclusion, the Survey says that strengthening the policy and institutional eco-system supporting inclusive growth deserves to be a top policy priority. It will be interesting to see if any big announcement is made in regards with health and social announcements in budget 2018.
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“Being a developing economy, there is not enough fiscal space to increase the expenditure on critical social infrastructure like education and health in India. However, given the limited resources, the Government has consistently prioritised strengthening the educational and health profile of the population,” said the Survey tabled in Parliament. It said the government is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for education – ‘Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’ by 2030. Bugget 2018 will be presented in Parliament on February 1 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. India’s Economic Survey 2017-18 was presented in Parliament today. This is the first economic survey after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented last year.