Economic Survey is an annual exercise done by the finance
ministry and prepared by the chief economic adviser. It comes one day before the
general budget is announced in the parliament. Since this document is prepared
by the government and its various agents, therefore, its importance is paramount
for any government examination and especially civil services.
Here we are outlining, why to read economic survey?
Every year 8-10 questions directly come from economic survey. The
exactness is so striking that even word by word matching is present.
For the Mains GS-3, current part of the syllabus related to economic and
to some extent social developments can be prepared from the survey.
It contains very important and relevant data which can be directly
quoted in the GS papers, essay and even in some humanities optional.
It provides a big picture of the various sectors, segments, regions and
their contribution to the GDP.
It helps in understanding the macro parameters of the economies and get
a government point of view upon conflicting issues.
It also discusses challenges to the economy in the short term and the
long term. Moreover, it provides some suggestions which must be noted and
prepared well for the possible similar issue based mains question.
For Example, Economic Survey 2016-17 has extensively talked
about NPAs (non-performing assets) problem and provided some solution by
analysing similar problems across the other economies in a different point of
How to read economic survey?
Read the 1st Chapter which contains the summary of the economic survey.
You will get the idea about the issues, topics, suggestions, problems and
major range of discussions which will follow.
Read the boxes very well and make short notes out of it especially from
Note down any relevant data which can be used in the Mains and the
If you find any term rather than conventional economics term then just
focus on the definition and the context in which it was used.
Avoid too much detailed analysis and mathematical models along with pure
economic analysis and research papers. IAS exam is about generalist.
Read it page by page for the 1st reading and in the subsequent readings
make short notes not more than 10-12 pages so as to revise within 1-2 days
before the final examination.
All the best!!! and do read Economic Survey every year and if not able to
read it make sure you follow summary material for the reference.