The government on Sunday clarified that a recent report of a National Statistical Commission-appointed Committee showing higher GDP growth during the UPA term “are not official estimates and are meant only to facilitate taking a decision on the appropriate approach” for calculating back series data.
Separately, the Commission also clarified that various alternatives are being discussed for finalising the GDP back-series data and that the calculations are still a “work in progress”.
According to the data released by a Committee on Real Sector Statistics, tasked with recommending ways to strengthen data collection system, the Indian economy grew at a faster clip in two terms of the UPA government against average growth recorded in the first four years of the NDA government.
The average economic growth rate, or GDP at factor cost, was 8.86 per cent during the first term (2004-05 to 2008-09) of the UPA government, which fell to 7.38 per cent during their second term (2009-10 to 2013-14). In contrast, the average growth rate in first four years of the NDA government was recorded at 7.35 per cent (2014-15 to 2017-18).
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) said in a statement on Sunday: “…the estimates in the Report are not official estimates and are meant only to facilitate taking a decision on the appropriate approach.
These recommendations of the NSC Committees will be examined by MoSPI and other experts for deciding on the appropriate methodology to be adopted for generating the Back Series estimates for each sector. The Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics will be deliberating on the Back Series estimates before finalising the same for continuity, consistency and reliability.”
The NSC, in a statement, said that various alternatives are being discussed for finalising the GDP back-series data. “It is clarified through this Press Note that the methodology for back-casting GDP series has not yet been finalised and various alternative methods are being explored. The methodology as also the series using the methodology will be worked out using the suggestions made by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics and other suggestions that emanate during the consultancy process. This exercise will first be considered in the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics and subsequently by the NSC. Thereafter, the MoSPI will consider releasing official estimates on back series of GDP data. Thus, it is work in progress.”
The Committee on Real Sector Statistics, chaired by Sudipto Mundle, Emeritus Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), has generated a new back series on national output up to 1993-94 with 2011-12 as the base year. The comparison of growth rates of Gross Value Added and GDP, at constant price, show minimal variation for time period 1994-95 and 2013-14.
Due to change in the base year to 2011-12 for calculation of national accounts, the past data has somewhat incomparable, so the government is preparing back-series data.