Seventh economic census for 2019 after a gap of five years, back series of GDP, a national-level data warehouse for all official statistics and three surveys — annual survey of services, annual survey of unincorporated enterprises and time use survey — are going to be the focus areas for the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) over the next six months, Chief Statistician of India Pravin Srivastava said.
While the back series of GDP is expected to be released this month, a national-level data warehouse for all official statistics from MoSPI and administrative schemes is expected to be prepared within next six months, Srivastava said. The results of National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) long pending quinquennial survey on Household Consumer Expenditure and Employment and Unemployment, last conducted in 2011–12, are also expected to come out within next 2 months, he added.
“We are working on National Data Warehouse on official statistics. We are going to create a repository vault of all statistical information collected from administrative systems and surveys. That’s a prime project and it will help streamline the availability across sectors, departments, ministries, state governments, where everyone has access to same set of data,” Srivastava told The Indian Express.
The ministry will also start work on the Seventh Economic Census and three surveys, for which it has already got approval from the Union Cabinet. “We have Cabinet approval for undertaking new activities. One is the annual survey of the services sector, annual survey of the unincorporated enterprises, time use survey and the Economic Census. Those are the 3-4 activities which we have to embark upon and these activities are in addition to our existing work,” Srivastava said.
The ministry has completed the field work for NSSO’s quinquennial survey, with the reference period being 2016-17 and will release quarterly results for the same hereon, he said. “The field work we have completed for one year and one quarter. On September 30, one more quarter was over and they are processing the data, we are having a look at how the fieldwork and the data is converging in terms of the cyclical effective season…we are expecting that within another two months we’ll be able to come out with the results,” he said, adding that the reference period would 2016-17 but the results would be quarterly.
For all this additional work, apart from the usual work related to national statistics and inflation, the ministry would need to “augment human capital”, Srivastava said. “All of this activity has to be done in a very short time span and we are adopting an outsourcing model, where we get the field staff and we do the monitoring, supervision, training in house and we will be able to move in the field January onward. And we are trying to use technology in such a way that the results come out quickly and that’s lot of changes. It’s an uphill task but we are progressing,” he said.
A recent report by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics had shown the economy grew at a faster rate in two terms of the UPA government against average growth recorded in the first four years of the NDA government, following which MoSPI had said the estimates are not official estimates of the back series of GDP and are meant only to facilitate taking a decision on the appropriate approach. The shift to 2011-12 as the new base year for national accounts had propelled the growth rates to much higher levels than the 2004-05 series, but had resulted in a statistical vacuum about the comparative GDP growth rates for pre-2011-12 years.