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Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

How to read the Economic Survey

Welcome to the introductory post. Read the subsequent parts of this exhaustive series on the Indian Economic Survey (Click Here).


economic survey

Economic survey for 2015-16 has been released. As we all know, it’s a very important document for exam purposes. You can download it for FREE from here.

As with the last year, this year’s survey is a two volume book. Volume one deals with conceptual and analytical issues while volume two deals with the state of economy and sectors of economy in some detail with more focus on immediate issues and statistics. I have just finished reading volume one and I am going to discuss how to read this document effectively.

There are 11 chapters in the volume one. Every chapter is important, so sit tight and read one chapter at a time and take notes. Except for chapter 1 which is some 36 pages long, every other chapter is only 9 to 13 pages long which will take about 45 min to 1 hour each for reading and taking notes.

Chapter one basically gives broad overview of the economy, challenges and opportunities, analyses pros and cons of rapid fiscal consolidation. It also gives glimpses of what to expect from the subsequent chapters. I will suggest, you all begin with chapter one.

Three most enlightening chapters of the survey are-

  1. Chapter 2, The Chakravyuha Challenge of the Indian Economy – It highlights the problem of difficult exit of firms just as Abhimanyu could not exit from Chakravyuha. The survey aptly describes it as “From socialism with restricted entry to “marketism” without exit“.
  2. Chapter 6, Bounties for the Well-Off – It’s a real eye opener and describes in detail government subsidies (implicit and explicit) for the well off section of society, what could only be described as Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor.
  3. Chapter 7, Fiscal Capacity for the 21st Century – Best chapter of the survey by many miles. It would clear all your doubts regarding government taxation and expenditure, whether government spends less or more and how middle class simply exits from the state if state’s role is seen as primarily distributional.

All other chapters are equally great but I found these three very different and interesting.

Some do’s and don’ts

  1. Don’t try to finish the survey or even first volume in one go, read one chapter at a time
  2. You should read volume one from cover to cover. It’s very interesting and will help you in essay, paper 2, paper 3 as well as paper 4, yes in ethics paper
  3. Volume two is not that important. What is to be read from that will be updated tomorrow
  4. Take simultaneous notes while reading a chapter, note down important points and doubts and get them resolved in doubts clearing forum
  5. Many times, the stuff put in the box have been directly asked in Mains. Do read them properly. But some box are highly technical, for instance first two boxes of chapter one, no need to go into nitty-gritty of them. Just try to understand the basic idea.

These could be the best 150 pages you would ever read for exam purpose. So, don’t wait for the substandard summaries to arrive in the market. You all have ample time before prelims, start reading one chapter a day. You will gain immense knowledge.

Of course, we shall be covering important portions of survey here at CD but you should read the full volume, especially the three chapters I mentioned.

Questions, suggestions and comments

  1. Rishav Prakash

    when you will upload the summary of economic survey (16-17)

    1. Serah

      Did they start ES 2016-17??. I cannot find it on website but they told it would start in a week from Feb 10

    2. Discuss

      @rishavprakash, we will start publishing the summaries next week.

  2. Ritika Malhotra

    pls pls guide on how to read economic survey 17?

    1. Discuss

      @ritikamalhotra, the basic method of reading is the same, just the chapter names and content changes. We will be coming out with a summary very soon.

  3. Anurag Singh

    Such a commendable job, You ppl have done…totally indebted!!

  4. Yogesh Lavhe

    Please add doubt forum and other features on CD APP. also try to make APP less Data consuming, bcz it takes to much mobile data.. And middle class student can’t afford to browse APP.

    1. Root


      App is quite low on data consumption. The reason why we did not bombard the app with pictures/ forums and heavy features is that it has been built keeping in mind 2G networks and limited internet access.

  5. Munna kumar

    Sir pls suggest me how to start use of civilsdaily

    1. Sumer Shah

      Munna – App download karo and daily news pado.

      Go to the NEWS and story tab – and you will see daily news linked to previous news…. + explainers of concepts…

      1. Munna kumar

        Thank you… one thing is how to download story…

        1. Sumer Shah

          you cannot download a story – go to the tab – keep reading as they add newscards to it. and you understand the news in full.

          buy the monthly magazine from the link on the homepage top.

  6. anu yaligar
    visit this channel in Telegram every files u may find here for upsc preparation

  7. Krupa Bhandari

    Plz update about Vol 2, Sir

    1. Sumer Shah

      Go to the blogs tab – you will find all the other articles….

  8. Sneha Sodhi

    Maza aa gya sirji

  9. shubham kumar

    thanks for this Sir …
    thank you ..

  10. Rami Landho's

    Thanks. Im still scared of Prelims though 🙁

  11. Sandesh Sharma

    Thnku so much. U r perfect decoder

  12. shahjahan sk

    thank u very much..

  13. tahir fazal

    Sir,I’ve got a suggestion if you – at the end of the day, could just put up some objective & subjective questions. 1 day 1 chapter, starting today itself from 1st chapter of Volume 1 n moving forward till completion of last chapter of Vol 2. That will keep us busy in reading n studying the survey as well as give an insight if we are missing something or not. Kindly consider. Thanks.

    1. Dr V

      Sounds great. We shall start something on similar lines and shall also try to clear basics of economics in the process..

  14. Gopalsana Thingnam

    Quite helpful…thanks

  15. Tanay Rathi

    Let’s make it a bit easy for you all..
    Here are all chapters combined into one file –
    Enjoy 🙂

    1. deepak rathor

      @Tanay rathi: could u plz do it for part 2 also ??

    2. Sandesh Sharma

      Thnku boss

    3. Sumer Shah

      you are a saviour 🙂

  16. Shanmuga Velan

    SImple yet powerful analysis 🙂

  17. Anmol Phutela

    thank you doctor

  18. Rajesh Badavath

    CD you feel any prospects for it ?

  19. Rajesh Badavath

    Thank you CD…

  20. Simran Bains

    Thanks for the link and thanks for the post too! 🙂

    One request,
    Give us a time frame, say about 10 days or so to finish the economic survey, (as we all know how important it is) and then you guys can post a bunch of 20-30 questions that possibly can be framed from the Economic survey(all possible angles) so that it becomes easier for us to see how clearly we’ve got the survey and what can be asked from it.

    Is it too much to ask for? ?

  21. Ashutosh Pandey

    much needed suggestions …. thnxx sir..

  22. Bhupesh Kumar


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