Economic Survey 2018: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today presented the Economic Survey in Parliament. While talking about the key focus areas in the medium term, the survey stated that employment, education and agriculture will be pivotal. The survey says a series of major reforms undertaken over the past year will allow real GDP growth to reach 6.75 per cent this fiscal and will rise to 7.0 to 7.5 per cent in 2018-19, thereby re-instating India as the world‘s fastest-growing major economy. Finance Minister Jaitley while talking about the previous year, states that the reform measures undertaken in 2017-18 can be strengthened further in 2018-19.
While elaborating about the focus on employment and education in the medium term, the economic survey stated -” Over the medium term, three areas of policy focus stand out: Employment: finding good jobs for the young and burgeoning workforce, especially for women. Education: creating an educated and healthy labor force.”
The Economic Survey 2018 states that 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. On the subject of ―Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development, bridging the gender gaps in education, skill development, employment, earnings and reducing social inequalities prevalent in the society have been the underlying goals of the development strategy to enhance human capabilities. 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.”
The Economic Survey 2017- 18 also highlights the Centre’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG- 4) for education. It mentioned the significant progress made in universalising primary education, with substantial improvement in the enrollment and completion rates of education of children in both primary and elementary school. It takes note of the increased percentage of schools which comply with the Student Classroom Ratio (SCR) and Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) at the all India level. Taking note of the substantially improved Gender Parity Index (GPI) at the primary and secondary levels of school enrollment with the consistent efforts of the government, the Survey acknowledges the success of programmes like Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao in addressing issues of gender bias in access to education.
While talking about the employment sector, the survey states that it aims to promote inclusive employment-intensive industry and build a resilient infrastructure as they are vital factors for economic and development. It adds that MSMEs in India play a crucial role in providing large-scale employment opportunities at comparatively lower capital cost than large industries and also in the industrialization of rural and backward areas. According to the Survey, the Indian logistics industry worth around US$ 160 Billion has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 per cent during last five years. Logistics sector provides employment to more than 22 million people.