GDP back series data cuts UPA era growth rates; here’s what former chief statisticians say


The New Series is ‘internationally comparable’ and has made significant methodological improvements, Rajiv Kumar said.
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The government lowered the GDP growth rates for a major part of the UPA era, stating the new data has been recalibrated to give a more appropriate picture of the economy.  The GDP growth rates for FY 2006-12 have been revised using new back series data, according to the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Commenting on the much-awaited back series GDP data that was released by the government on Wednesday, NITI Aayog’s Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the new methodology is far superior than the older one.

Also read: Government to release GDP back series data today? Here’s what happened so far

The New Series is ‘internationally comparable’ and has made significant methodological improvements, Rajiv Kumar said. Pravin Srivastava, Chief Statistician, also said the new methodology is a robust one.

“Back series released today by CSO has been checked for its methodological soundness by leading statistical experts in the country. #NITIAayog had organized two Round Tables in which domain experts participated to ensure the quality of coverage and methodology,” NITI Aayog tweeted.

The growth in 2008-09 plunged to 3.1 percent compared to the old series estimate of 3.9 percent, the data said. In 2009-10, GDP growth was at 7.9 percent as per the new series as against the 8.5 percent estimated under the old series. In 2010-11, the new series showed growth at 8.5 percent compared to the estimate of 10.3 percent under the old series.

What former chief statisticians say

“Actually the changes are not small, there are quite a few substantial changes… major change which people don’t tend to not appreciate that is in the segment related to hotel, trade etc. principally dominated by trade – retail and wholesale. In the old series, retail trade and wholesale trade was estimated by gross trading income. Gross trading income was an indicator which was developed from an output measure aggregating output of marketable surplus of agriculture, manufacturing and most importantly mining. Now, when we got final  trade survey based data in 2010-11 from NSS survey, we found trade estimates in old series were significantly overestimated,” former Chief Statistician TCA Anant told CNBC TV18.

If you use sales tax indicator, there is significant improvement in estimates. Now, the back series has used the sales tax, he added.

One can’t apply methodology series backwards in toto, so approximations are need to be made, Pronab Sen said. However, using different indicators is better way to calculate, he told CNBC TV18.

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