Back in May, in the middle of lockdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an economic package that contained so many zeroes that it became a tad difficult to figure out what exactly did she mean by Rs. 20 lakh crore. But this time, before the 'Budget day' repeats the digits and numbers, it's time to take stock of the situation as to how the nation's economy fared during the year.

budget session

Economic Survey vis-a-vis Budget

But first, what exactly do they mean by Economic Survey? Economic Survey is closely tied to the budget, in not just being presented a day before the budget but it helps in providing a better understanding of the Union Budget. Economic Survey analyses the overall performance of the nation's economy during the year. The Economic Survey 2020-21 was presented today, a little earlier than usual because this year the budget presentation takes place after the weekend.

Nirmala Sitharaman Migrant Crisis
Union Finance Minister Nirmala SitharamanTwitter/ANI

Since 1950-51

The Economic Survey is presented in the budget session of the Parliament but after the President is done with his address to the joint sitting of both the houses. In his address, the President usually focuses on outlining the government's agenda, achievements, challenges, and the plan for the coming year. This year, with India' economy and as is the case with all the other nations' economies, the growth and development have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It must be noted that India's first ever Economic Survey was presented in the financial year 1950-51 and this year's Economic Survey has been made paperless.

Precursor to Budget

Prepared by the Economics Division of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the guidance of the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Krishnamurthy Subramanian, the Economic Survey was tabled on Friday, followed by two-day delay for the Budget presentation. Usually, the Budget is tabled a day after the presentation of the Economic Survey but this year, the Union Budget will be presented on Monday. February 1.

One survey, two parts

The survey serves as a highlighter about future policy moves by the government. The survey is generally divided into two sections for convenience and clarity. While part one deals with details of the economic challenges that the country is facing and measures to deal with them, the second part comprises the review of the year gone by. Essentially, the survey lays the groundwork for the presentation of Budget.

Economic Survey 2020-21

The survey is perceived as a prequel to Budget as it also analyses trends in money supply, agricultural and industrial production, infrastructure, prices, employment, exports and imports, foreign exchange reserves as well as other relevant economic factors.

The Indian economy has technically been in recession in the past year as there has been a negative growth. There has been a contraction in the Gross Domestic Product for the last two consecutive quarters. The current financial year is expected to close with a net contraction in GDP by about 7 per cent.