Economic Survey: Highlights of reform measures

11 August 2017

The Mid-term Review of the Economic Survey 2016-17 has highlighted the reform initiatives in the various sectors of the economy, including agriculture and food management, industry and infrastructure, social Infrastructure, employment and human development.

The Survey mainly points to the initiatives taken by the government in managing and reducing the various risks in agriculture activities to make the sector resilient, increase profitability and ensure stable income flows to the farmers.

It has suggested the following reforms for increasing productivity in agriculture and allied sector:

  • Addressing the price risks in agriculture and allied sectors, marketing infrastructure along the entire value chain to be built and strengthened;
  • Addressing production risks, expanding the share of irrigated area by increasing the coverage of water saving irrigation systems like micro irrigation systems'
  • Setting standards to enforce better quality and develop pest and disease resistant seeds to increase productivity of crops;
  • Making changes in trade and domestic policy well before sowing and keeping these till arrivals and procurement is over;
  • Earmarking funds to enhance women's involvement in the dairy projects through appropriate mechanisms;
  • Providing timely and affordable formal and institutional credit to the small and marginal farmers to ensure inclusive growth; and
  • Adoption of a regime based on timely interventions.

Industry and infrastructure

  • Railways should go for more non-fare sources along with station redevelopment and commercially exploiting vacant buildings at the station, monetising land along tracks by leasing out to promote horticulture and tree plantation, and through advertisement and parcel earnings;
  • Enabling non-major ports to gain more share of cargo handling compared to major ports by enhancing their efficiency and operational capacity; and
  • Reforms such as privatisation/ disinvestment of Air India, creation of aviation hubs and reconsidering the 0/20 rule to improve Indian airlines' share in the international market.

Social infrastructure, employment and human development

  • Increasing investments in a knowledge based economy and strengthening social infrastructure by investing in health and education to achieve double digit growth; 
  • Designing education policies with focus on learning outcomes and remedial education with interventions which work and maximize the efficiency of expenditure.
  • Introduce bio-metric attendance of school staff, independent setting of examination papers, neutral examination and for DBT for schools. Adopting outcome measures for the education and skilling activities to ensure improvement in delivery of schemes/ programmes;
  • To make the labour market dynamic and efficient, the government has taken several reforms/initiatives, both legislative as well as technological such as notification of 'Ease of Compliance to maintain registers under various Laws/ Rules and introduction of e-Biz Portal. These registers/forms can also be maintained in a digitized form.
  • Government has been imparting short term skill training through Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and long term training through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). Model Skill Centers are being set up in every district of the country under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra Scheme;
  • Concerted efforts needed to reform the health sector by addressing quality issues, standardising rates for diagnostic tests, generating awareness about alternative health systems and introduction of punitive measures fines on hospitals and private health providers for false claims and providing health benefits and risk cover to poorer sections of the society for more equitable access to health services;
  • The National Health Policy 2017 aims at attaining the highest level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services, without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence; and
  • Addressing the social security of large number of vulnerable workers in the informal economy by prioritisation by the government along with ensuring the safety and security of women to raise their participation in economic activities.

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