8 Facts About India You Need to Know, Lists Economic Survey 2017

The survey reveals new evidence on the flows of migrants within India to weak targeting of social programmes.

3 min read
8 Facts About India You Need to Know, Lists Economic Survey 2017

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This year’s Economic Survey is big on data.

It claims to provide ‘the first estimate of the flow of goods across states within India, based on analysing transactions-level data provided by the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN)’.

It also claims ‘exciting new evidence on the flows of migrants within India, based on detailed origin-destination passenger data provided by the Ministry of Railways and on a new methodology for analysing the Census data’.

Its best feature then is an infographic-led section ‘Eight Interesting Facts About India’.

Reproduced here with due credit to the Economic Survey.


1) Indians On The Move

New estimates based on railway passenger traffic data reveal annual work-related migration of about 9 million people, almost double of what the 2011 Census suggests.


2) Biases In Perception

China’s credit rating was upgraded from A+ to AA- in December 2010 while India’s has remained unchanged at BBB-. From 2009 to 2015, China’s credit-to-GDP soared from about 142 percent to 205 percent and its growth decelerated. The contrast with India’s indicators is striking.


3) New Evidence on Weak Targeting Of Social Programmes

Welfare spending in India suffers from misallocation: as the pair of charts show, the districts with the most poor (in red on the left) are the ones that suffer from the greatest shortfall of funds (in red on the right) in social programs. The districts accounting for the poorest 40 percent receive 29 percent of the total funding.


4) Political Democracy But Fiscal Democracy?

India has 7 taxpayers for every 100 voters, ranking us 13th amongst 18 of our democratic G-20 peers.


5) India’s Distinctive Demographic Dividend

India’s share of working age to non-working age population will peak later and at a lower level than that for other countries but last longer. The peak of the growth boost due to the demographic dividend is fast approaching, with peninsular states peaking soon and the hinterland states peaking much later.


6) India Trades More Than China and a Lot Within Itself

As of 2011, India’s openness – measured as the ratio of trade in goods and services to GDP – has far overtaken China’s, a country famed for using trade as an engine of growth. India’s internal trade to GDP is also comparable to that of other large countries and very different from the caricature of a barrier-riddled economy.


7) Divergence Within India, Big Time

Spatial dispersion in income is still rising in India in the last decade (2004-14), unlike the rest of the world and even China. That is, despite more porous borders within India than between countries internationally, the forces of “convergence” have been elusive.


8) Property Tax Potential Unexploited

Evidence from satellite data indicates that Bengaluru and Jaipur collect only between 5 to 20 percent of their potential property taxes.

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Topics:  Economic Survey   Democracy   Migration 

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