The Economic Survey 2010 Reveals Good, Bad, and Ugly


The Economic Survey 2009-10 sees India growing the fastest by 2013-14, provided it is able to overcome infrastructure and bureaucratic constraints. Will those running the government overcome ‘if’?

India would bounce back to a high nine per cent growth in 2011-12.

Gold Reserve: The nation that pledged its bullion two decades ago to pay for imports, in 2009-10 became the world’s 10th largest gold-holding country. The government’s purchase of 200 tonnes of gold from the International Monetary Fund took its total reserves to 557.7 tonnes. Some claim that the gold purchase provided a healing touch to the nation’s pride. If the survey could provide the data on the total gold in the country, the world would have known that India is the richest country in the world.

Education: Around 96% children in the age group of 6-14 are now enrolled in schools. A total of 10.11 lakh teachers were appointed under SSA and another 21.79 lakh were provided in-service training. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) now aims at the objective of achieving 75% enrolment for classes IX-X. The ultimate aim of RMSA is to achieve universalisation of secondary education by 2017.

Saving and investment: The 32.5% savings and 34.9% investment (of GDP in 2008-09) put India in league of world’s fastest growing nations.
Gas output is up 52.8 per cent to 50.2 billion cubic meters with RIL starting production.

Telecom: India is the world’s 2nd largest wireless network with 525.1 million mobile users. Virtually every second Indian has access to phone

Good or Bad

Farming: According to government estimates, small and marginal farmers, which owns less than five hectares of land each, are about 80 per cent of the about 60 crore farming population in the country. The MSP of paddy (rice) has been increased to Rs 1,000 a quintal (including Rs 50 bonus) for 2009-10 from Rs 560 a quintal in 2004-05. Similarly, there has been about 72 per cent hike in wheat MSP in last five years and currently stands at Rs 1,100 a quintal. However, India’s yield is poor. The farmers are getting disenchanted to carry on with the profession. Can further fragmentation of land be stopped?

Exports in April-December 2009 are down by 20.3 per cent, and imports are down by 23.6 per cent.

Doing Business in India: India ranks 133rd in the world as against Singapore that ranks 1st, Malaysia 23rd, and China 89th. It takes1,420 days in India to enforce a contract as against 150 days for the same in Singapore, 300 days in the US and 406 days in China. Even for closing a business, the time taken is nine months in Singapore, 18 months in the US, 20 months in China and seven years in India.

Projects Overruns: The percentage of projects with time overruns goes from 60.7% in power and petroleum sector, 95% in shipping and ports and 98% in railways, to a well-rounded 100% in health and family welfare.

Undrawn Sanctioned loan: India’s undrawn external loan from multilateral agencies for many of the infrastructure and other projects amounted to Rs 95,487 crore till March 2009.


Inflation: Retail prices are rising at a rate 10 times faster than that for wholesale prices. Food inflation has refused to climb down from levels in excess of 17% for over a month now after testing almost 18% in the week ended January 30, the highest in 11 years.

Human Development Indexes: Life expectancy at birth in India was 63.4 years in 2007 against 80.5 years in Norway, 81.4 years in Australia, 74 years in Sri Lanka and 72.9 years in China. On literacy rates, too, China and Indonesia fare much better. The adult literacy rate in 1999-2007 was 66 per cent in India against near-100 per cent in most developed nations, 93.3 per cent in China and 92 per cent in Indonesia.

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