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Every year the Government of India releases the Economic Survey in the month of February. The Economic Survey, 2023-24, is the largest ever review of the Indian economy and its performance over the past fiscal year. It aims to provide an up-to-date overview of the Indian economy and an assessment of key trends, challenges, and policy initiatives. The Economic Survey, 2023-24 highlights the remarkable performances and achievements of the Indian economy in the year that had begun in April 2023. It also provides much-anticipated insight into the policy, economic and fiscal directions that the country will likely venture in the coming year.

Economic Performance in 2023-24

The Indian economy has registered strong economic performance in the year 2023-24 and the growth rate has been the highest in the last ten years. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 8.1%, significantly faster than the previous year. The total gross value added in the economy has risen by 10.3% compared with the previous year. This has been propelled by a broad-based expansion in all sectors of the economy, including services, industry, construction and agriculture.

The service sector has mustered the strongest growth among all the sectors, increasing by 10.4%,followed by industry growing at 8.5% and the agriculture sector at 4.3%. The contribution of the farming sector to total GDP has steadily declined and now accounts for 15.3% of the overall GDP, around 1.2% lower than the previous year. This indicates the growth of the Indian manufacturing and services sector. The manufacturing and construction sector has driven growth up with 8.9% and 9% respectively.

The inflation rate in 2023-24 has remained relatively stable at 4.2%, although this figure has shown some volatility in the last year. This is still within the acceptable limits set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and is lower than expected. This benign inflation rate has helped maintain macroeconomic stability.

Government Spending and Policies

The government’s expenditure during 2023-24 increased by 8.4%, higher than the previous year, and amounted to 14.4% of the total GDP. This was mainly on account of increased spending through the contingency fund as well as other ministries such as housing and urban development and rural development. Total government revenues decreased by 3.1%. This was a result of lower corporate tax receipts and central excise duty raised from significant items like petroleum products, motor spirit and diesel.

The government has continued to implement policy reforms to promote the ease of doing business and to attract foreign investment. Reforms to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and labour policy have been particularly significant in this regard. As of April 2023, 90 Central Labour Laws have been integrated into four codes (Industrial Relations, Social Security, Safety and Working Conditions, and Labour Welfare). This simplification of the regulatory framework is seen to significantly improve the ease of doing business in India.

Conclusion

Overall, the Indian economy continues to show remarkable resilience in the face of the global pandemic. The Economic Survey, 2023-24 reveals that the Indian economy is making great strides towards sustained and robust growth and job creation. The government’s supportive policies and reforms will help to foster a business-friendly environment and stimulate economic growth. With further policy reforms, India is well-placed to optimise its growth potential in the coming years.

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