Economic Survey – Why is the “Welfare Economics” Missing from India’s Economic Policy Discourse?


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The Ministry of Finance released Vol. – II of the Economic Survey in August 2017. The Chief Economic Advisor claims that this is the analytical survey and the Vol. – I which is generally released in the month of March every year was the backward analysis of the economy.

The survey also claims that it attempts to establish the “economic policies” for the Government to follow. From the policy analytic point of view, the survey offers little or no help and breaks no new grounds. For example, the survey tries to establish links between the demonetization and MNREGA and traces the week-wise impact on it.

Clearly, this comparison is a mismatch and even misleading because the original goal of the “demonetization” has nothing to do with the poverty alleviation programs. It was the measure the curb “black” money, which was never recovered, but it seems now that the “black” money amplified manifold if what Kapil Sibal in claimed in the Parliament is true.

The entire analysis and the misleading “regression analysis” factoring in “demonetization” is a futile intellectual exercise. Like the economists who try to prove that their trade is not accessible to the lesser mortal create a web of mathematical equations to make people lost without understanding anything.

The Survey wastes many pages and I reckon many man-hours of the citizens if they want to understand these messy statistics.

The growth rate is posted in the range of 6.75% to 7.5%. The growth rate can be misleading as a mere increase in the volume of money is not the indicator of growth, the growth must take place in the real sense.

Judging by the Government reports alone, none of the sectors of the economy is doing very well, save except growing inflow of global capital through the intricate network of crony capitalists who are close to RSS/BJP and Modi-Shah duo, undermining the sovereignty of India.

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The way the farmers received doles starting from UP will create huge financial burdens and already the state fiscals deficits are burgeoning, the state FDs are going to cause a lot of headache to the national economy is becoming clear day by day.

Two areas that have been increasingly missing from the Economic Survey are Welfare and Identity.

Welfare economics is an important branch of economics and it has developed at its heart with clearly targeted policies that will fight the menace of inequality, discrimination, and well-being of the citizens.

Identity economics is an evolving branch of economics in which the identity is factored in the entire economic process. The Indian Upper castes may be denying the fact of “identities” because the “obscure and confused” identities of the lower castes benefit them, but there is no denying the fact that “social identities” play an important role in economics.

The survey does not refer to welfare schemes aimed at various sections of the Indian population. The RSS/BJP is slowly backing away from the Government’s commitment, both social and financial” to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by reducing the budgetary support to them or diverting the funds meant for them to other works.

The farmers in Maharashtra were given loan waiver using significant budget meant for the SCs and STs. The RSS/BJP Government is keen on making flashy reports to attract the “cosy and crony” capital for its clientele and this survey is not far from this truth.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist

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