The review will not only present data, trends but also list out the achievements of the Narendra Modi government
Two years after scrapping it, the government is planning to bring back the mid-year economic review.
Preparing and presenting this document will be one of the first tasks given to the new chief economic advisor, whose appointment could be finalised by the end of this month.
That is around the time incumbent Arvind Subramanian demits office.
The 2018-19 mid-year economic review, if prepared, will be likely released in December or January, ahead of the 2019-20 interim Budget in early February, Business Standard has learnt from senior government sources, who added that the 2018-19 Economic Survey will likely be released before the post-election Budget in July next year.
It is understood that the review will not only present the data, trends and commentary on the April-September 2018-19 period and the outlook for the rest of the year, but also list the economic, social and fiscal achievements of the Narendra Modi government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“The thinking in the finance ministry so far is that a mid-year review will be presented this year. That means the 2018-19 Survey will be presented after the elections. Had we decided to present the Survey on January 31, work would have begun on that by now,” said an official.
“The new chief economic advisor has to be appointed by end-July. Not only that, some key positions among economic advisors have to be filled in as well. The new CEA will take time getting up to speed. So there is no bandwidth currently, to present an economic survey before the February budget. A mid-year review can be presented, however,” the person said.
Senior Advisor Archana Mathur, who is designated just below Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal, is set to retire in a few months as well, and a replacement for her will have to be found.
With the advancement of the Union Budget to February 1 from 2017 onwards, the mid-year economic review 2016-17 was scrapped. It wasn’t presented in 2017-18 either.
Instead, Subramanian released the 2016-17 Economic Survey in two phases - on January 31, 2017, and August 11, 2017.
The mid-year economic review was first presented in 2002, even before it was legislatively institutionalised by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. The finance ministry website has links to mid-year reviews going back to 2002.
In the past, incumbent governments have changed their gross domestic product growth and fiscal deficit forecasts in the mid-year review, from the numbers given in preceding Budgets and Economic Surveys.
Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhury/Reuters