1. Scheme for Ethanol Production

News: Meeting held by Department of Food &Public Distribution with States and Industry Associations to implement Scheme to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol.


  • The Government has fixed a target of 10% blending of fuel grade ethanol with petrol by 2022 and 20% blending by 2025. This has been done with a view to boost agricultural economy, to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel, to save foreign exchange on account of crude oil import bill and to reduce the air pollution.
  • To meet out the requirement of ethanol, the Government has notified a “Scheme for extending financial assistance to project proponents for enhancement of their ethanol distillation capacity or to set up distilleries for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feed stocks such sugarcane, rice available with Food Corporation of India, maize etc.


  • The State Governments have been requested to promote the scheme to the entrepreneurs of their states and encourage them to participate in the scheme so that the target set by the Government could be achieved well within the timeline.
  • State Governments were also requested to facilitate entrepreneurs in arranging land for the project, to get environment clearance at the earliest and in setting up of distilleries. To facilitate them, State Governments have been requested to nominate nodal department in the States/UTs & nodal officer.
  • It was also suggested that every State should constitute a Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary and comprising of officers of State Excise Authority, State Pollution Control Board, Industry Department, Industry Associations, entrepreneurs and officers of Central Government to review the implementation of the scheme on monthly basis and to ensure that bottlenecks, if any, faced by entrepreneurs are resolved in a time bound manner.
  • The participants were explained about the benefits of Ethanol Blended with Petrol Programme.
  • It was informed that excess sugar of about 60 Lakh Tonne will be diverted to ethanol, helping sugar mills to timely payments of cane dues to farmers, additional utilisation of food-grains of about 135 Lakh Tonne will help in increasing the income of farmers, investment by entrepreneurs will help in creation of employment in rural areas, distributed ethanol production will help in reduction of transportation cost of ethanol and reduction in crude oil import will help India to become Atmanirbharin petroleum sector.


  • It is expected that with the participation of entrepreneurs and states, ethanol production capacity in the country would increase from present 684 crore liters to the required level of 1500 crore liters by 2025 in order to achieve blending targets.
  • There is enough availability of raw material like sugarcane, molasses, damaged food grain (broken rice), FCI Rice, maize etc.
  • Remunerative prices of ethanol from various feed-stocks including sugarcane juice, B-Heavy molasses, C-Heavy molasses, rice available with FCI, damaged food grains and maize have also been fixed.
  • Prices of ethanol are fixed on the basis of prices of raw materials and not on the basis of prices of crude oil. OMCs being the assured buyer for ethanol has also given comfort for purchase of ethanol from distilleries for next 10 years.
  • Tripartite Agreement between distilleries, banks and OMCs gives extra comfort to banks for lending. Some State Governments have also included ethanol projects under priority sector. As such the upcoming ethanol projects are viable.

2. STARS Project

News: Agreement for the financial support of the implementation of Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project of Ministry of Education was signed between Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and World Bank along with Ministry of Education. The total project cost of STARS project is Rs 5718 crore with the financial support of World Bank amounting to US $ 500 million (approximately Rs. 3700 crore) and rest coming as State share from the participating States, over a period of 5 years.

About the STARS Project:

  • STARS project would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme under Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), MOE.
  • Earlier Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of STARS project. The project covers 6 States viz Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha. The identified States will be supported for various interventions for improving the quality of education.
  • The Program envisions improving the overall monitoring and measurement activities in the Indian school education system through interventions in selected states.
  • STARS will draw on existing structure under Samagra Shiksha with the DoSEL, MoE as the main implementing agency at the national level. At the State level, the project will be implemented through the integrated State Implementation Society (SIS) for Samagra Shiksha.
  • The proposed World Bank support under STARS is primarily in the form of a results-based financing instrument called Program for Results (PforR).
  • This will ensure major reforms at the State level through a set of disbursement-linked indicators (DLIs). A State Incentive Grant (SIG) will be used to encourage States to meet desired project outcomes.
  • The SIG matrix has been aligned with the intermediate outcome indicators as per the requirement of PforR instrument. An independent Verification agency (IVA) will verify each result before disbursement of funds.

STARS project will be instrumental in the implementation of various recommendations of National Education Policy 2020 i.e.

  • Strengthening Early Childhood Education and Foundational Learning,
  • Improving Learning Assessment System,
  • ICT-enabled approaches in education,
  • Teachers Development and
  • Vocational education etc.


3. Highlights of Economic Survey 2020-21


News: Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Economic Survey 2020-21 in the Parliament today. The key highlights of Economic Survey 2020-21, which is dedicated to the COVID Warriors, are as follows:

Saving Lives and Livelihoods amidst a Once-in-a-Century Crisis

  • India focused on saving lives and livelihoods by its willingness to take short-term pain for long-term gain, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Response stemmed from the humane principle that: Human lives lost cannot be brought back
  • GDP growth will recover from the temporary shock caused by the pandemic. An early, intense lockdown provided a win-win strategy to save lives, and preserve livelihoods via economic recovery in the medium to long-term. Strategy also motivated by the Nobel-Prize winning research by Hansen & Sargent (2001): a policy focused on minimizing losses in a worst-case scenario when uncertainty is very high
  • India’s strategy flattened the curve, pushed the peak to September, 2020.After the September peak, India has been unique in experiencing declining daily cases despite increasing mobility
  • V-shaped recovery, as seen in 7.5% decline in GDP in Q2 and recovery across all key economic indicators vis-à-vis the 23.9% GDP contraction in Q1

COVID pandemic affected both demand and supply:

  • India was the only country to announce structural reforms to expand supply in the medium-long term and avoid long-term damage to productive capacities. Calibrated demand side policies to ensure that the accelerator is slowly pushed down only when the brakes on economic activities are being removed
  • A public investment programme centered around the National Infrastructure Pipeline to accelerate the demand push and further the recovery. Upturn in the economy, avoiding a second wave of infections – a sui generis case in strategic policymaking amidst a once-in-a-century pandemic

State of the Economy in 2020-21: A Macro View

  • COVID-19 pandemic ensued global economic downturn, the most severe one since the Global Financial Crisis. The lockdowns and social distancing norms brought the already slowing global economy to a standstill. Global economic output estimated to fall by 3.5% in 2020 (IMF January 2021 estimates)
  • Governments and central banks across the globe deployed various policy tools to support their economies such as lowering policy rates, quantitative easing measures, etc.
  • India adopted a four-pillar strategy of containment, fiscal, financial, and long-term structural reforms:
  • Calibrated fiscal and monetary support was provided, cushioning the vulnerable during the lockdown and boosting consumption and investment while unlocking. A favourable monetary policy ensured abundant liquidity and immediate relief to debtors while unclogging monetary policy transmission.
  • As per the advance estimates by NSO, India’s GDP is estimated to grow by (-) 7.7% in FY21 – a robust sequential growth of 23.9%in H2: FY21 over H1: FY21
  • India’s real GDP to record a 0% growth in FY2021-22 and nominal GDP to grow by 15.4% – the highest since independence: Rebound to be led by low base and continued normalization in economic activities as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines gathers traction. Government consumption and net exports cushioned the growth from diving further down, whereas investment and private consumption pulled it down
  • The recovery in second half of FY2020-21 is expected to be powered by government consumption, estimated to grow at 17% YoY
  • Exports expected to decline by 5.8% and imports by 11.3% in the second half of FY21
  • India expected to have a Current Account Surplus of 2% of GDP in FY21, a historic high after 17 years
  • On supply side, Gross Value Added (GVA) growth pegged at -7.2% in FY21 as against 3.9% in FY20:
  • Agriculture set to cushion the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Indian economy in FY21 with a growth of 3.4%. Industry and services estimated to contract by 9.6% and 8.8% respectively during FY21
  • Agriculture remained the silver lining while contact-based services, manufacturing, construction were hit hardest, and recovering steadily
  • India remained a preferred investment destination in FY 2020-21 with FDI pouring in amidst global asset shifts towards equities and prospects of quicker recovery in emerging economies:
  • Net FPI inflows recorded an all-time monthly high of US$ 9.8 billion in November 2020, as investors’ risk appetite returned. India was the only country among emerging markets to receive equity FII inflows in 2020. Buoyant SENSEX and NIFTY resulted in India’s market-cap to GDP ratio crossing 100% for the first time since October 2010
  • Softening of CPI inflation recently reflects easing of supply side constraints that affected food inflation
  • Mild contraction of 0.8% in investment (as measured by Gross Fixed Capital Formation) in 2ndhalf of FY21, as against 29% drop in 1st half of FY21
  • Reignited inter and intra state movement and record-high monthly GST collections have marked the unlocking of industrial and commercial activity
  • The external sector provided an effective cushion to growth with India recording a Current Account Surplus of 3.1% of GDP in the first half of FY21:
  • Strong services exports and weak demand leading to a sharper contraction in imports (merchandise imports contracted by 39.7%) than exports (merchandise exports contracted by 21.2%)
  • Forex reserves increased to a level so as to cover 18 months worth of imports in December 2020
  • External debtas a ratio to GDP increased to 21.6% at end-September 2020 from 20.6% at end-March 2020
  • Ratio of forex reserves to total and short-term debt improved because of the sizable accretion in reserves
  • V-shaped recovery is underway, as demonstrated by a sustained resurgence in high frequency indicators such as power demand, e-way bills, GST collection, steel consumption, etc.
  • India became the fastest country to roll-out 10 lakh vaccines in 6 days and also emerged as a leading supplier of the vaccine to neighbouring countries and Brazil
  • Economy’s homecoming to normalcy brought closer by the initiation of a mega vaccination drive:
  • Hopes of a robust recovery in services sector, consumption, and investment have been rekindled
  • Reforms must go on to enable India realize its potential growth and erase the adverse impact of the pandemic. India’s mature policy response to the ‘once-in-a-century’ crisis provides important lessons for democracies to avoid myopic policy-making and demonstrates benefits of focusing on long-term gains

Does Growth lead to Debt Sustainability? Yes, But Not Vice- Versa!

  • Growth leads to debt sustainability in the Indian context but not necessarily vice-versa:
  • Debt sustainability depends on the ‘Interest Rate Growth Rate Differential’ (IRGD), i.e., the difference between the interest rate and the growth rate. In India, interest rate on debt is less than growth rate- by norm, not by exception. Negative IRGD in India – not due to lower interest rates but much higher growth rates – prompts a debate on fiscal policy, especially during growth slowdowns and economic crises
  • Growth causes debt to become sustainable in countries with higher growth rates; such clarity about the causal direction is not witnessed in countries with lower growth rates
  • Fiscal multipliers are disproportionately higher during economic crises than during economic booms
  • Active fiscal policy can ensure that the full benefit of reforms is reaped by limiting potential damage to productive capacity. Fiscal policy that provides an impetus to growth will lead to lower debt-to-GDP ratio
  • Given India’s growth potential, debt sustainability is unlikely to be a problem even in the worst scenarios
  • Desirable to use counter-cyclical fiscal policy to enable growth during economic downturns
  • Active, counter-cyclical fiscal policy – not a call for fiscal irresponsibility, but to break the intellectual anchoring that has created an asymmetric bias against fiscal policy

Does India’s Sovereign Credit Rating Reflect Its Fundamentals? No!

  • The fifth largest economy in the world has never been rated as the lowest rung of the investment grade (BBB-/Baa3) in sovereign credit ratings: Reflecting the economic size and thereby the ability to repay debt, the fifth largest economy has been predominantly rated AAA. China and India are the only exceptions to this rule – China was rated A-/A2 in 2005 and now India is rated BBB-/Baa3

India’s sovereign credit ratings do not reflect its fundamentals:

  • A clear outlier amongst countries rated between A+/A1 and BBB-/Baa3 for S&P/ Moody’s, on several parameters. Rated significantly lower than mandated by the effect on the sovereign rating of the parameter
  • Credit ratings map the probability of default and therefore reflect the willingness and ability of borrower to meet its obligations:
  • India’s willingness to pay is unquestionably demonstrated through its zero sovereign default history
  • India’s ability to pay can be gauged by low foreign currency denominated debt and forex reserves
  • Sovereign credit rating changes for India have no or weak correlation with macroeconomic indicators
  • India’s fiscal policy should reflect Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s sentiment of ‘a mind without fear’
  • Sovereign credit ratings methodology should be made more transparent, less subjective and better attuned to reflect economies’ fundamentals

Inequality and Growth: Conflict or Convergence?

  • The relationship between inequality and socio-economic outcomes vis-à-vis economic growth and socio-economic outcomes, is different in India from that in advanced economies.
  • Both inequality and per-capita income (growth) have similar relationships with socio-economic indicators in India, unlike in advanced economies. Economic growth has a greater impact on poverty alleviation than inequality. India must continue to focus on economic growth to lift the poor out of poverty
  • Expanding the overall pie- redistribution in a developing economy is feasible only if the size of the economic pie grows

Healthcare takes centre stage, finally!

  • COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the importance of healthcare sector and its inter-linkages with other sectors – showcased how a health crisis transformed into an economic and social crisis
  • India’s health infrastructure must be agileso as to respond to pandemics – healthcare policy must not become beholden to ‘saliency bias’
  • National Health Mission (NHM) played a critical role in mitigating inequity as the access of the poorest to pre-natal/post-natal care and institutional deliveries increased significantly
  • Emphasis on NHM in conjunction with Ayushman Bharat should continue
  • An increase in public healthcare spending from 1% to 2.5-3% of GDP can decrease the out-of-pocket expenditure from 65% to 35% of overall healthcare spending
  • A regulator for the healthcare sector must be considered given the market failures stemming from information asymmetry. Mitigation of information asymmetry will help lower insurance premiums, enable the offering of better products and increase insurance penetration. Information utilities that help mitigate the information asymmetry in healthcare sector will be useful in enhancing overall welfare.
  • Telemedicine needs to be harnessed to the fullest by investing in internet connectivity and health infrastructure

Process Reforms

  • India over-regulates the economy resulting in regulations being ineffective even with relatively good compliance with process. The root cause of the problem of overregulation is an approach that attempts to account for every possible outcome
  • Increase in complexity of regulations, intended to reduce discretion, results in even more non-transparent discretion. The solution is to simplify regulations and invest in greater supervision which, by definition, implies greater discretion
  • Discretion, however, needs to be balanced with transparency, systems of ex-ante accountability and ex-post resolution mechanisms. The above intellectual framework has already informed reforms ranging from labour codes to removal of onerous regulations on the BPO sector

Regulatory Forbearance an emergency medicine, not staple diet!

  • During the Global Financial Crisis, regulatory for bearancehelped borrowers tide over temporary hardship
  • Forbearance continued long after the economic recovery, resulting in unintended consequences for the economy. Banks exploited the forbearance window for window-dressing their books and misallocated credit, thereby damaging the quality of investment in the economy
  • Forbearance represents emergency medicine that should be discontinued at the first opportunity when the economy exhibits recovery, not a staple diet that gets continued for years
  • To promote judgement amidst uncertainty, ex-post inquests must recognize the role of hindsight bias and not equate unfavourable outcomes to bad judgement or  malafide intent
  • An Asset Quality Review exercise must be conducted immediately after the forbearance is withdrawn
  • The legal infrastructure for the recovery of loans needs to be strengthened de facto

Innovation: Trending Up but Needs Thrust, Especially from the Private Sector

  • India entered the top-50 innovating countries for the first time in 2020since the inception of the Global Innovation Index in 2007, ranking first in Central and South Asia, and third amongst lower middle-income group economies. India’s gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) is lowest amongst top ten economies
  • India’s aspiration must be to compete on innovation with the top ten economies
  • The government sector contributes a disproportionately large share in total GERD at three times the average of top ten economies. The business sector’s contribution to GERD, total R&D personnel and researchers is amongst the lowest when compared to top ten economies
  • This situation has prevailed despite higher tax incentives for innovation and access to equity capital
  • India’s business sector needs to significantly ramp up investments in R&D
  • Indian resident’s share in total patents filed in the country must rise from the current 36% which is much below the average of 62% in top ten economies
  • For achieving higher improvement in innovation output, India must focus on improving its performance on institutions and business sophistication innovation inputs

PM‘JAY’ Adoption and Health outcomes

  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)– the ambitious program launched by Government of India in 2018 to provide healthcare access to the most vulnerable sections demonstrates strong positive effects on healthcare outcomes in a short time. PM-JAY is being used significantly for high frequency, low cost care such as dialysis and continued during the Covid pandemic and the lockdown.
  • Causal impact of PM-JAY on health outcomes by undertaking a Difference-in-Difference analysis based on National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 (2015-16) and NFHS-5 (2019-20) is following:
  • Enhanced health insurance coverage: The proportion of households that had health insurance increased in Bihar, Assam and Sikkim from 2015-16 to 2019-20 by 89% while it decreased by 12% over the same period in West Bengal
  • Decline in  Infant Mortality rate: from 2015-16 to 2019-20, infant mortality rates declined by 20% for West Bengal and by 28% for the three neighbouring states. Decline in under-5 mortality rate: Bengal saw a fall of 20% while, the neighbours witnessed a 27% reduction
  • Modern methods of contraception, female sterilization and pill usage went up by 36%, 22% and 28% respectively in the three neighbouring states while the respective changes for West Bengal were negligible
  • While West Bengal did not witness any significant decline in unmet need for spacing between consecutive kids, the neighbouring three states recorded a 37% fall
  • Various metrics for mother and child care improved more in the three neighbouring states than in West Bengal. Each of these health effects manifested similarly when we compare all states that implemented PM-JAY versus the states that did not. Overall, the comparison reflects significant improvements in several health outcomes in states that implemented PM-JAY versus those that did not

Bare Necessities

  • Access to the ‘bare necessities’ has improved across all States in the country in 2018 as compared to 2012
  • It is highest in States such as Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat while lowest in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tripura. Improvement in each of the five dimensions, access to water, housing, sanitation, micro-environment and other facilities
  • Inter-State disparities declined across rural and urban areas as the laggard states have gained relatively more between 2012 and 2018. Improved disproportionately more for the poorest households when compared to the richest households across rural and urban areas
  • Improved access to the ‘bare necessities’ has led to improvements in health indicators such as infant mortality and under-5 mortality rate and also correlates with future improvements in education indicators
  • Thrust should be given to reduce variation in the access to bare necessities across states, between rural and urban and between income groups. The schemes such as Jal Jeevan Mission, SBM-G, PMAY-G, etc. may design appropriate strategy to reduce these gaps
  • A Bare Necessities Index (BNI) based on the large annual household survey data can be constructed using suitable indicators and methodology at district level for all/targeted districts to assess the progress on access to bare necessities.

Fiscal Developments

  • India adopted a calibrated approach best suited for a resilient recovery of its economy from COVID-19 pandemic impact, in contrast with a front-loaded large stimulus package adopted by many countries
  • Expenditure policy in 2020-21 initially aimed at supporting the vulnerable sections but was re-oriented to boost overall demand and capital spending, once the lockdown was unwound
  • Monthly GST collections have crossed the  1 lakh crore mark consecutively for the last 3 months, reaching its highest levels in December 2020 ever since the introduction of GST
  • Reforms in tax administration have begun a process of transparency and accountability and have incentivized tax compliance by enhancing honest tax-payers’ experience. Central Government has also taken consistent steps to impart support to the States in the challenging times of the pandemic

External Sector

  • COVID-19 pandemic led to a sharp decline in global trade, lower commodity prices and tighter external financing conditions with implications for current account balances and currencies of different countries
  • India’s forex reserves at an all-time high of US$ 586.1 billion as on January 08, 2021, covering about 18 months worth of imports. India experiencing a Current Account Surplus along with robust capital inflows leading to a BoP surplus since Q4 of FY2019-20
  • Balance on the capital account is buttressed by robust FDI and FPI inflows:
  • Net FDI inflows of US$ 27.5 billion during April-October, 2020: 14.8% higher as compared to first seven months of FY2019-20. Net FPI inflows of US$ 28.5 billion during April-December, 2020 as against US$ 12.3 billion in corresponding period of last year
  • In H1: FY21, steep contraction in merchandise imports and lower outgo for travel services led to:
  • Sharper fall in current payments (by 30.8%) than current receipts (15.1%)
  • Current Account Surplus of US$ 34.7 billion (3.1% of GDP)

India to end with an Annual Current Account Surplus after a period of 17 years

  • India’s merchandise trade deficit was lower at US$ 57.5 billion in April-December, 2020 as compared to US$ 125.9 billion in the corresponding period last year. In April-December, 2020, merchandise exports contracted by 15.7% to US$ 200.8 billion from US$ 238.3 billion in April-December, 2019:
  • Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) exports have contributed negatively to export performance during the period under review. Non-POL exports turned positive and helped in improving export performance in Q3 of 2020-21. Within Non-POL exports, agriculture & allied products, drugs & pharmaceutical and ores & minerals recorded expansion
  • Total merchandise imports declined by (-) 29.1% to US$ 258.3 billion during April-December, 2020 from US$ 364.2 billion during the same period last year:
  • Sharp decline in POL imports pulled down the overall import growth
  • Imports contracted sharply in Q1 of 2020-21; the pace of contraction eased in subsequent quarters, due to the accelerated positive growth in Gold and Silver imports and narrowing contraction in non-POL, non-Gold & non-Silver imports
  • Fertilizers, vegetable oil, drugs & pharmaceuticals and computer hardware & peripherals have contributed positively to the growth of non-POL, non-Gold & non-Silver imports

Trade balance with China and the US improved as imports slowed

  • Net services receipts amounting to US$ 41.7 billion remained stable in April-September 2020 as compared with US$ 40.5 billion in corresponding period a year ago. Resilience of the services sector was primarily driven by software services, which accounted for 49% of total services exports
  • Net private transfer receipts, mainly representing remittances by Indians employed overseas, totaling US$ 35.8 billion in H1: FY21 declined by 6.7% over the corresponding period of previous year
  • At end-September 2020, India’s external debt placed at US$ 556.2 billion – a decrease of US$ 2.0 billion (0.4%) as compared to end-March 2020.
  • Improvement in debt vulnerability indicators:
  • Ratio of forex reserves to total and short-term debt (original and residual)
  • Ratio of short-term debt (original maturity) to the total stock of external debt.
  • Debt service ratio (principal repayment plus interest payment) increased to 9.7% as at end-September 2020, compared to 6.5% as at end-March 2020

Rupee appreciation/depreciation:

  • In terms of 6-currency nominal effective exchange rate (NEER) (trade-based weights), Rupee depreciated by 4.1% in December 2020 over March 2020; appreciated by 2.9% in terms of real effective exchange rate (REER)
  • In terms of 36-currency NEER (trade-based weights), Rupee depreciated by 2.9% in December 2020 over March 2020; appreciated by 2.2% in terms of REER. RBI’s interventions in forex markets ensured financial stability and orderly conditions, controlling the volatility and one-sided appreciation of the Rupee

Initiatives undertaken to promote exports:

  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme
  • Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP)
  • Improvement in logistics infrastructure and digital initiatives

Money Management and Financial Intermediation

  • Accommodative monetary policy during 2020: repo rate cut by 115 bps since March 2020
  • Systemic liquidity in FY2020-21 has remained in surplus so far. RBI undertook various conventional and unconventional measures like:
  1. Open Market Operations
  2. Long Term Repo Operations
  3. Targeted Long Term Repo Operations
  • Gross Non-Performing Assets ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks decreased from 8.21% at end-March, 2020 to 7.49% at end-September, 2020
  • The monetary transmission of lower policy rates to deposit and lending rates improved during FY2020-21
  • NIFTY-50 and BSE SENSEX reached record high closing of 14,644.7 and 49,792.12 respectively on January 20, 2021. The recovery rate for the Scheduled Commercial Banks through IBC (since its inception) has been over 45%

Prices and Inflation

Headline CPI inflation:

  • Averaged 6.6% during April-December, 2020 and stood at 4.6% in December, 2020, mainly driven by rise in food inflation (from 6.7% in 2019-20 to 9.1% during April-December, 2020, owing to build up in vegetable prices)
  • CPI headline and its sub groups witnessed inflation during April-October 2020, driven by substantial increase in price momentum – due to the initial disruptions caused by COVID-19 lockdown
  • Moderated price momentum by November 2020 for most sub groups, coupled with positive base effect helped ease inflation. Rural-urban difference in CPI inflation saw a decline in 2020:
  • Since November 2019, CPI-Urban inflation has closed the gap with CPI-Rural inflation
  • Food inflation has almost converged now. Divergence in rural-urban inflation observed in other components of CPI like fuel and light, clothing and footwear, miscellaneous etc.
  • During April-December, 2019 as well as April-December, 2020-21, the major driver of CPI-C inflation was the food and beverages group: Contribution increased to 59% during April-December, 2020, compared to 53.7% during April-December, 2019
  • Thali cost increased between June 2020 and November 2020, however a sharp fall in the month of December reflecting the fall in the prices of many essential food commodities

State-wise trend:

  • CPI-C inflation increased in most of the states in the current year. Regional variation persists
  • Inflation ranged from 3.2% to 11% across States/UTs during June-December 2020 compared to (-) 0.3% to 7.6% during the same period last year.
  • Food inflation driving overall CPI-C inflation due to the relatively more weight of food items in the index.
  • Steps taken to stabilize prices of food items:
  • Banning of export of onions
  • Imposition of stock limit on onions
  • Easing of restriction on imports of pulses

Gold prices:

  • Sharp spike as investors turned to gold as a safe haven investment amid COVID-19 induced economic uncertainties. Compared to other assets, gold had considerably higher returns during FY2020-21
  • Consistency in import policy warrants attention: Increased dependence on imports of edible oils poses risk of fluctuations in import prices
  • Imports impacting production and prices of domestic edible oil market, coupled with frequent changes in import policy of pulses and edible oils, add to confusion among farmers/producers and delay imports

Sustainable Development and Climate Change

  • India has taken several proactive steps to mainstream the SDGs into the policies, schemes and programmes
  • Voluntary National Review(VNR) presented to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development
  • Localisation of SDGs is crucial to any strategy aimed at achieving the goals under the 2030 Agenda
  • Several States/UTs have created institutional structures for implementation of SDGs and also nodal mechanisms within every department and at the district levels for better coordination and convergence
  • Sustainable development remains core to the development strategy despite the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Eight National Missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)focussed on the objectives of adaptation, mitigation and preparedness on climate risks
  • India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) states that finance is a critical enabler of climate change action. The financing considerations will therefore remain critical especially as the country steps up the targets substantially
  • The goal of jointly mobilizing US$ 100 billion a year by 2020 for climate financing by the developed countries has remained elusive. The postponement of COP26 to 2021 also gives less time for negotiations and other evidence-based work to inform the post-2025 goal
  • Despite overall growth in the global bond markets, green bond issuance in the first half of 2020 slowed down from 2019, possibly as a result of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA)launched two new initiatives – ‘World Solar Bank’ and ‘One Sun One World One Grid Initiative’ – poised to bring about solar energy revolution globally

Agriculture and Food Management

  • India’s Agricultural (and Allied Activities) sector has shown its resilience amid the adversities of COVID-19 induced lockdowns with a growth of 3.4% at constant prices during 2020-21 (first advance estimate)
  • The share of Agriculture and Allied Sectors in Gross Value Added (GVA) of the country at current prices is 8%for the year 2019-20 (CSO-Provisional Estimates of National Income, 29th May, 2020)
  • Gross Capital Formation (GCF)relative to GVA showing a fluctuating trend from 17.7 % in 2013-14 to 16.4 % in 2018-19, with a dip to 14.7 % in 2015-16
  • Total food grain production in the country in the agriculture year 2019-20 (as per Fourth Advance Estimates), is 44 million tonnes more than than during 2018-19
  • The actual agricultural credit flow was ₹13,92,469.81 crores against the target of ₹13,50,000 crores in 2019-20. The target for 2020-21 was ₹15,00,000 crores and a sum of ₹ 9,73,517.80 crores was disbursed till 30th November, 2020:
  • 5 crore dairy farmers of milk cooperatives and milk producer companies’ were targeted to provide Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) as part of Prime Minister’s AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package after the budget announcement of  February 2020
  • As of mid January 2021, a total of 44,673 Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs)have been issued to fishers and fish farmers and an additional 4.04 lakh applications from fishers and fish farmers are with the banks at various stages of issuance
  • The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana covers over 5 crore farmer applications year on year. Claims worth Rs. 90,000 crore paid, as on 12th January, 2021. Speedy claim settlement directly into the farmer accounts through Aadhar linkage. 70 lakh farmers benefitted and claims worth Rs. 8741.30 crores were transferred during COVID-19 lock down period
  • An amount of  18000 crore have been deposited directly in the bank accounts of 9 crore farmer families of the country in December, 2020 in the 7th installment of financial benefit under the PM-KISAN scheme
  • Fish production reached an all-time high of 14.16 million metric tons during 2019-20:
  • GVA by the Fisheries sector to the national economy stood at ₹2,12,915 crores constituting 1.24% of the total national GVA and 7.28 % of the agricultural GVA
  • Food Processing Industries (FPI)sector growing at an Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) of around 9.99 % as compared to around 3.12 % in Agriculture and 8.25 % in Manufacturing at 2011-12 prices during the last 5 years ending 2018-19

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana:

  • 96 crore beneficiaries were provided food grains above NFSA mandated requirement free of cost till November, 2020.
  • Over 200 LMT of food grains were provided amounting to a fiscal outgo of over Rs. 75000 Crores
  • AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package:5 kg per person per month for four months (May to August) to approximately 8 crores migrants (excluded under NFSA or state ration card) entailing subsidy of  Rs. 3109 crores approximately

Industry and Infrastructure

  • A strong V-shaped recovery of economic activity further confirmed by IIP data
  • The IIP& eight-core index further inched up to pre-COVID levels
  • The broad-based recovery in the IIP resulted in a growth of (-) 1.9 % in Nov-2020 as compared to a growth of 2.1 % in Nov-2019 and a nadir of (-) 57.3 % in Apr-2020
  • Further improvement and firming up in industrial activities are foreseen with the Government enhancing capital expenditure, the vaccination drive and the resolute push forward on long pending reform measures
  • AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyanwith a stimulus package worth 15 % of India’s GDP announced
  • India’s rank in the Ease of Doing Business(EoDB) Index for 2019 has moved upwards to the 63rd position in 2020 from 77th in 2018 as per the Doing Business Report (DBR):
  • India has improved its position in 7 out of 10 indicators. Acknowledges India as one of the top 10 improvers, the third time in a row, with an improvement of 67 ranks in three years
  • It is also the highest jump by any large country since 2011
  • FDI equity inflows were US$49.98 billion in FY20as compared to US$44.37 billion during FY19:
  • It is US$30.0 billion for FY21 (up to September-2020)
  • The bulk of FDI equity flow is in the non-manufacturing sector
  • Within the manufacturing sector, industries like automobile, telecommunication, metallurgical, non-conventional energy, chemical (other than fertilizers), food processing, petroleum & natural gas got the bulk of FDI
  • Government has announced a Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in the 10 key sectors under the aegis of AatmaNirbhar Bharat for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports:
  • To be implemented by the concerned ministries with an overall expenditure estimated at Rs.1.46 lakh crores and with sector specific financial limits

Services Sector

  • India’s services sector contracted by nearly 16 % during H1: FY2020-21, during the COVID-19 pandemic mandated lockdown, owing to its contact-intensive nature
  • Key indicators such as Services Purchasing Managers’ Index, rail freight traffic, and port traffic, are all displaying a V-shaped recovery after a sharp decline during the lockdown
  • Despite the disruptions being witnessed globally, FDI inflows into India’s services sector grew robustly by 34% Y-o-Y during April-September 2020 to reach US$ 23.6 billion
  • The services sector accounts for over 54 % of India’s GVA and nearly four-fifths of total FDI inflow into India. The sector’s share in GVA exceeds 50% in 15 out of 33 States and UTs, and is particularly more pronounced (greater than 85%) in Delhi and Chandigarh
  • Services sector accounts for 48% of total exports, outperforming goods exports in the recent years. The shipping turnaround time at ports has almost halved from 4.67 days in 2010-11 to 62 days in 2019-20
  • The Indian start-up ecosystem has been progressing well amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, being home to 38 unicorns – adding a record number of 12 start-ups to the unicorn list last year
  • India’s space sector has grown exponentially in the past six decades:
  • Spent about US$ 1.8 billion on space programmes in 2019-20. Space ecosystem is undergoing several policy reforms to engage private players and attract innovation and investment

Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development

  • The combined (Centre and States) social sector expenditure as % of GDP has increased in 2020-21 compared to last year.
  • India’s rank in HDI 2019 was recorded at 131, out of a total 189 countries:
  • India’s GNI per capita(2017 PPP $) has increased from US$ 6,427 in 2018 to US$ 6,681 in 2019
  • Life expectancy at birth improved from 69.4 years in 2018 to 69.7 years in 2019
  • The access to data network, electronic devices such as computer, laptop, smart phone etc. gained importance due to online learning and remote working during the pandemic
  • Major proportion of workforce engaged as regular wage/salaried in the urban sector during the period of January 2019-March 2020 (quarterly survey of PLFS)
  • Government’s incentive to boost employment through AatmaNirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojanaand rationalization and simplification of existing labour codes into 4 codes
  • Low level of female LFPR in India:
  • Females spending disproportionately more time on unpaid domestic and care giving services to household members as compared to their male counterparts (Time Use Survey, 2019)
  • Need to promote non-discriminatory practices at the workplace like pay and career progression, improve work incentives, including other medical and social security benefits for female workers
  • Under PMGKP announced in March, 2020, cash transfers of up to Rs.1000 to existing old aged, widowed and disabled beneficiaries under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)
  • An amount of Rs. 500 each was transferred for three months digitally into bank accounts of the women beneficiaries under PM Jan Dhan Yojana, totalling about 20.64 crores
  • Free distribution of gas cylinders to about 8 crore families for three months
  • Limit of collateral free lending increased from Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs for 63 lakh women SHGs which would support 6.85 crore households
  • Wages under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA increased by Rs.20 from Rs.182 to Rs.202 w.e.f. 1st April, 2020

India’s fight against COVID-19:

  • Initial measures of lockdown, social distancing, travel advisories, practicing hand wash, wearing masks reduced the spread of the disease
  • Country also acquired self-reliance in essential medicines, hand sanitizers, protective equipment including masks, PPE Kits, ventilators, COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities
  • World’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive commenced on 16th January, 2021 using two indigenously manufactured vaccines


4. Revised Estimates of National Income


News: The National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the First Revised Estimates of National Income, Consumption Expenditure, Saving and Capital Formation for the financial year 2019-20 along with Second Revised Estimates for the financial year 2018-19 and Third Revised Estimates for the financial year 2017-18 (with Base Year 2011-12) as per the revision policy.

The salient features of the estimates at aggregate level are given in the paras that follow.

Gross Domestic Product

  • Nominal GDP or GDP at current prices for the year 2019-20 is estimated at ₹203.51 lakh crore as against ₹188.87 lakh crore for the year 2018-19, showing a growth of 7.8 per cent during 2019-20 as compared to 10.5 per cent during 2018-19.
  • Real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for the years 2019-20 and 2018-19 stands at ₹145.69 lakh crore and ₹140.03 lakh crore, respectively, showing growth of 4.0 per cent during  2019-20 and 6.5 per cent during 2018-19.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic prices in different sectors of the economy at current and constant (2011-12) prices is presented in Statements 4.1 and 4.2 respectively. At the aggregate level, nominal GVA at basic prices has grown by 7.6 per cent during 2019-20 as against 10.7 per cent during 2018-19. In terms of real GVA, i.e., GVA at constant (2011-12) basic prices, there has been a growth of 4.1 per cent in 2019-20, as against 5.9 per cent in 2018-19.
  • The growth in real GVA during 2019-20 has been lower than that in 2018-19 mainly due to relatively lower growth in ‘Mining and Quarrying’, ‘Manufacturing’, ‘Electricity, Gas, Water Supply & Other Utility Services’, ‘Construction’, ‘Trade, repair, Hotels and Restaurants’ and ‘Financial Services’.
  • The growth rates of Primary sector (comprising Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining & Quarrying), Secondary sector (comprising Manufacturing, Electricity, Gas, Water Supply & Other Utility Services, and Construction) and Tertiary sector (Services) have been estimated as 3.3 per cent, -1.1 per cent and 7.2 per cent as against growth of 2.2 per cent, 5.8 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, in the previous year.

Net National Income

  • Nominal Net National Income (NNI) or NNI at current prices for the year 2019-20 stands at ₹179.94 lakh crore as against ₹167.05 lakh crore in 2018-19, showing growth of 7.7 per cent during 2019-20 as against growth of 10.3 per cent in the previous year.

Gross National Disposable Income

  • Gross National Disposable Income (GNDI) at current prices is estimated at ₹206.98 lakh crore for the year 2019-20, while the estimate for the year 2018-19 stands at ₹191.78 lakh crore, showing a  growth of 7.9 per cent for year 2019-20 as against growth of 10.8 per cent in the year 2018-19.

State of Savings

  • Gross Saving during 2019-20 is estimated at ₹63.86 lakh crore against ₹57.77 lakh crore during 2018-19. Rate of Gross Saving to GNDI for 2019-20 is estimated at 30.9 per cent as against 30.1 per cent for 2018-19.
  • Gross Saving of the household sector is estimated at ₹39.91 lakh crore in the year 2019-20. The saving of private financial corporations is estimated at ₹1.83 lakh crore in 2018-19 and ₹2.71 lakh crore in 2019-20 whereas the saving of the non-financial corporations is estimated at ₹20.53 lakh crore during 2018-19 and ₹21.86 lakh crore in 2019-20. The saving of General Government is estimated at (-) ₹2.82 lakh crore during 2018-19 and (-) ₹3.71 lakh crore in 2019-20.

Capital Formation

  • Gross Capital Formation (GCF) at the current as well as the constant prices is estimated by two approaches
  • through flow of funds, derived as Gross Saving plus net capital flow from Rest of the World (RoW); and
  • by the commodity flow approach, derived by the type of assets. The estimates of GCF through the flow of funds approach are treated as the firmer estimates. GCF by industry of use and by institutional sectors does not include ‘valuables’ and therefore, these estimates are lower than the estimates available from commodity flow approach.
  • GCF at current prices is estimated at ₹65.51 lakh crore for the year 2019-20 as compared to ₹61.73 lakh crore during 2018-19. The rate of GCF to GDP is 32.2 per cent during 2019-20 as against 32.7 per cent in the 2018-19. The rate of GCF (excluding valuables) to GDP stands at 31.5 per cent and 31.2 per cent for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively. The rates of capital formation in the years 2011-12 to 2019-20 have been higher than the rate of saving because of positive net capital flow from RoW.
  • In terms of the share to the total GCF (at current prices), the highest contributor is Non-Financial Corporations, share of which stood at 48.9 per cent in 2018-19 and 47.4 per cent in 2019-20. Share of household sector in GCF stands at 38.6 per cent in 2018-19 and 38.5 per cent in 2019-20 while the share of General Government in GCF stands at 11.6 per cent in 2018-19 and 12.9 per cent in 2019-20.
  • Within the GCF at current prices, the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) stands at ₹58.51 lakh crore in 2019-20 as against ₹55.13 lakh crore in 2018-19. The rate of GFCF to GDP at current prices is estimated at 29.2 per cent in 2018-19 and 28.8 per cent in 2019-20. The change in stocks of inventories, at current prices, is estimated at₹3.18 lakh crore in 2018-19 and ₹1.94 lakh crore in 2019-20, while estimate of valuables stands at ₹2.26 lakh crore in 2018-19 and ₹1.95 lakh crore in 2019-20.
  • The rate of GCF to GDP at constant (2011-12) prices was 36.0 per cent in 2018-19 and 36.4 per cent in 2019-20.

Consumption Expenditure

Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE) at current prices is estimated at ₹123.09 lakh crore for the year 2019-20 as against ₹112.22 lakh crore in 2018-19. In relation to GDP, the rates of PFCE at current prices during 2018-19 and 2019-20 are 59.4 per cent and 60.5 per cent respectively.

  • At constant (2011-12) prices, the PFCE is estimated at ₹78.84 lakh crore and ₹83.22 lakh crore, respectively for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The corresponding rates of PFCE to GDP for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 are 56.3 per cent and 57.1 per cent respectively.
  • Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE) at current prices is estimated at ₹22.85 lakh crore for the year 2019-20 as against ₹20.38 lakh crore during 2018-19. At constant (2011-12) prices the estimates of GFCE for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 stands at ₹14.29 lakh crore and ₹15.42 lakh crore respectively.

Per Capita Estimates

  • Per Capita Income i.e. Per Capita Net National Income at current prices, is estimated at ₹1,25,883 and ₹1,34,186 respectively for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20. Per Capita PFCE at current prices, for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 is estimated at ₹84,567 and ₹91,790 respectively.