Economic Survey 2020-21 Key Highlights: Get Detailed Analysis & Summary

Economic Survey 2021: The Economic Survey 2020-21 has been dedicated to all the COVID-19 warriors, who have really helped in upholding India. 

Economic Survey 2020-21
Economic Survey 2020-21

Economic Survey 2021: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled Economic Survey 2020-21 in the Parliament on January 29, 2021.  The survey is generally presented a day before the Union Budget. This year, the survey is being presented earlier because the day-before-budget is a Sunday.

The real growth rate for FY21 has been taken as -7.7% (MoSPI) in Economic Survey 2020-21 and real growth rate for FY22 is assumed as 11.5 % based on IMF estimates.

Following the presentation of the Economic Survey in both the houses of the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian addressed a press conference in which he introduced the highlights of the annual survey document.    

Economic Survey 2020- 2021: Detailed Analysis & Summary

Theme: The Economic Survey 2020-21 has been dedicated to all the COVID-19 warriors, who have really helped in upholding India. 

-Saving Lives and livelihoods
-COVID warriors joined hands to uphold India
-V-shaped economic recovery 
-Opportunities outweigh risks

The cover of the economic survey shows these COVID warriors including the nurses, doctors and scientists who have helped in developing the vaccine in record time and sanitation workers who have come together in the time of adversity to uphold India. The cover also shows v-shaped recovery that has happened in the India economy. 

This year's economic survey is being delivered in an e-book format. The Finance Ministry has also launched an official Economic Survey app for smooth access to the document.

Download Economic Survey 2021 Volume 1 PDF

Download Economic Survey 2021 Volume 2 PDF

Economic Survey App

The app can be downloaded easily from the app store. 

The economic survey app has a built-in file reader, so there no need to open another application. 

The users will be able to access all volumes of the survey on the app including:
-Volume 1
-Volume 2
-Statistical Appendix
-New ideas on Indian Economy

The users will be able to read and share any volume or chapter with colleagues and friends.

Economic Survey 2020-21: Volume 1

-Saving Lives and Livelihoods amidst a Once-in-a-Century Crisis
-Does Growth lead to Debt Sustainability? Yes, But Not Vice- Versa!
-Does India’s Sovereign Credit Rating Reflect Its Fundamentals? No!
-Inequality and Growth: Conflict or Convergence?
-Healthcare takes Centre Stage, Finally!
-Process Reforms
-Regulatory Forbearance an emergency medicine, not staple diet!
-Innovation: Trending Up but Needs Thrust, Especially from the Private Sector
-JAY Ho: Ayushman Bharat’s Jan Arogya Yojana (JAY) and Health Outcomes
-The Bare Necessities

Saving Lives and Livelihoods amidst once-in-a-century-crisis- India's Policy Response to COVID-19

The Economic Survey 2021 states that India's policy response during the COVID-19 pandemic was guided by Research in Epidemiology and Economics to minimize large losses.

India's policy response also derived from the extensive research on the Epidemiology, especially that looked at the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 to come up with its policy response. 

One of the key things that was pointed out was the need to flatten the pandemic curve, because that gives time for the health and testing infrastructure to be ramped up. 

One of the key learnings from this research was that the pandemic spreads faster in higher and denser populations and the intensity of the lockdown matters most at the beginning of the pandemic. 

The research showed that one unit increase in the population density has far greater impact on the spread of the pandemic at the onset compared to later. This is one of the key principles that guided India's policy response. 

Therefore, India recognised that early intense lockdown not only saves more human lives but also enables a quicker economic recovery.

Get complete Economic Survey 2020-2021 PDF here

What could have been vs what actually happened

The survey team also did its research to show -What could have been vs what actually happened. What could have been depends on population, population density, elderly people and the number of tests that are conducts and the entire demography. 

Result of the research: India has done really well when it comes to the actual number of COVID-19 cases. India avoided around 37 lakh cases according to the survey's estimation and about one lakh deaths. 

The same analysis was done across states as well and results are stated below:

-Maharashtra has been an under-performer both in the number of cases and deaths. 
-Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar have been the over-performers in the number of cases. 
-Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been the over-performers in the number of deaths, a they managed to majorly restrict the number of fatalities. 

The survey team also analysed the stringency of the lockdown across India and they found that the intensity of the initial lockdown correlates strongly with the difference in the estimated vs actual cases across country.  They also developed a stringency lockdown index for the states, which can be used for future research as well.  

Effect of Pandemic itself

-Even without intense lockdowns, individuals would not have gone out anyway.

-This means that contact-bases service sectors were severely impacted

-Precautionary motive to save goes up during times of uncertainty, leading to discretionary spending.

-Uncertainty of demand would have effected corporate investment. 

So, even without a lockdown pandemic would have created significance economic impact as it did in other countries, which did not have intense lockdowns early on. 

The lockdown actually ensured a coordinated response across the entire country, which saved lives and enabled v-shaped recovery. 

Demand-side policies

Pandemic had both supply and demand side impact and the demand side impact was very nuanced and India's policy response took into account the nuanced effect of the pandemic on demand.

-PMJDY balances increased during the lockdown

India approached its response to the pandemic in a calibrated manner by at first, purely focusing on providing necessities. Almost 18 crore people were provided with free food, which is possibly the largest free food programme in the world. 

-Emergency credit measures were given
-Liquidity measures and forbearance were announced

Under the unlock phase, India announced demand side measures to enable discretionary consumption including the Aatmanirbhar Bharat II and III measures, which were focused on capital expenditure and wage subsidy programme. 

Supply Side Impact 

A slew of structural reforms were announced to enhance supply in medium-long run to avoid loss of productive capacity. 

The reforms mainly focused on:

-strengthening the potential of primary and secondary sectors
-to create jobs and enable aggregate demand. 

The reforms included streamlining of labour laws, broad-based reforms in agriculture, MSMEs, BPO services, Power, Mineral, Defence and Space sector and strategic PSUs policy. 

Summary of India's Policy Response: Mature, Far-sighted Policy Response 

1. India focused on saving lives and livelihoods and took short-term paid for long term gain. 

2. India recognised that while GDP growth will recover, human lives cannot be brought back. 

3. India was the only nation to announced a slew of structural reforms.

4. India's demand-side measures were more calibrated recognising the simple idea that pushing the accelerator only works when the brakes are removed.

5. Further, a v-shaped recovery without a second wave makes India a sui generis case in mature policymaking.

6. Lastly, India's mega vaccination drive should also enable a recovery in the services sector. 

Healthcare takes centre stage 

The Economic Survey 2021 showed that an increase in public health spending from 1% to 2.5% of GDP, as envisaged in National Health Policy-2017 can reduce out-of-pocket spend from 65% to 30% of overall healthcare spending.

The annual survey noted that the emphasis on the National Health Mission should continue as it has played critical role in giving increased access of the poorest to pre-natal & post-natal care, & institutional deliveries.

The survey also noted that to enable India to respond to pandemics, health infrastructure must incorporate flexibility-as events requiring healthcare attention may not repeat identically in future. 

Further, it revealed that telemedicine needs to be harnessed to fullest by investing in internet connectivity & health infrastructure, given its potential to provide health access in remote areas

Besides this, the survey highlighted that it is critical to design policies that mitigate information asymmetry in healthcare, which creates market failures & thereby renders unregulated private healthcare sub-optimal.

Ayushman Bharat

Economic Survey 2021 shows Ayushman Bharat has led to improved health outcomes.

Economic Survey 2021 states that adopted PM-JAY show improved health outcomes including maternal & child health, access to family planning, awareness abt diseases outperforming non-PMJAY States.

The Economic Survey 2021 shows that PM-JAY continued to be used significantly for high frequency, life-saving procedures like dialysis, without disruption even during the COVID pandemic and the lockdown.

Bare Necessities 

The Economic Survey 2020-21 has constructed a Bare Necessities Index at rural, urban & all India level, with 26 indicators on 5 dimensions- sanitation, water, housing,micro-environment, & other facilities.

The survey showed that all states have increased access to bare necessities in 2018 in comparison to 2012. The highest access was recorded in states like Punjab, Kerala, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana and lowes was recorded in Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura.

The inter-state disparities in the access to “the bare necessities” also showed a decline in 2018 in comparison to 2012 across rural & urban areas. 

Further, the annual survey noted that the access to the bare necessities has improved disproportionately more for the poorest households in comparison to the richest households across rural & urban areas.

Lastly, the survey noted that improved access to “the bare necessities” correlates with improvement in health indicators such as infant mortality and under-5 mortality and improvement in education indicators.


The Economic Survey 2020-21 noted that India entered top 50 innovating countries for the first time n 2020.

The survey shows that the government contribution to research and development expenditure is 3 times the average contributed by governments in the top 10 economies.

Further, the survey noted that India’s business sector contributes much less to gross expenditure on R&D (37%) in comparison to businesses in each of the top 10 economies (68% on average).

The survey also noted that the resident share in patent applications must rise for India, as currently Indian residents contribute only 36% of patents filed in India as against average of 62% in top 10 economies. 

India has to focus more on strengthening institutions & business sophistication to improve its performance on innovation output.

What is the Economic Survey?

The Economic survey provides a summary of the annual economic development across the country during the previous financial year.

The annual survey analyses the trends in prices, agriculture, infrastructure, employment and industrial production,  money supply, foreign exchange reserves, exports, imports and other factors that have an impact on the Indian economy and the budget.

The survey also provides economic growth forecasts and gives detailed analysis on why it believes the economy will expand faster or decelerate.


The launch of Economic Survey 2021 assumes great significance this year due to the huge impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the country's economy with shuttering of several business and loss of livelihoods.

How to watch Union Budget 2021?

The Union Budget 2021 will be telecasted live on Lok Sabha TV on February 1, 2021.


The Budget session of the parliament began on January 29, 2021 with President Ram Nath Kovind addressing a joint sitting of the two houses of the parliament. The session will be held in two parts, first from January 29 till February 15 and second part will be held from March 8 to April 8.

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