Molten gold pours from a crucible into a 400 ounce gold bar mould during the semi-automated gold bar manufacturing process at a precious metal refinery near Mendrisio. (Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg)

GDP Debate: Back Series Data Of GDP Estimates Not Official - Statistics Ministry

The Narendra Modi government today clarified that the GDP back series data with 2011-12 base year are not official estimates as the calculations are still a work in progress.

The methodology for back-casting GDP series has not yet been finalised and various alternative methods are being explored, it said in a statement. The methodology will be worked out using the suggestions made by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics and other proposals that arise during the consultancy process, it added.

This comes at a time the Congress is using this data to defend its management of the Indian economy during the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance at the centre. In a tweet from its official handle, the Congress noted that economic growth rates as measured by the new GDP series were higher during its rule, when compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

India’s statistical office shifted to a new GDP series, with a base year of 2011-12, in 2015. The NSC had constituted a committee on real sector statistics under the chairmanship of Sudipto Mundle in April 2017 for improvement and modernisation of the real sector database.

A recent study by the National Statistical Commission provided GDP data according to the new series going all the way back to 1994-95, allowing a comparison of trends between the two series until 2013-14.

Though both the series show similar growth trends directionally, there is a divergence of about 40 basis points on average between the growth rates provided by them.

“The difference between growth rates in the old series with 2004-05 as base year, and the new back series with 2011-12 as base year, had minimal differences, largely because of the discrepancy variable, found to be highly volatile,” said the report.

The report of the committee was considered by the NSC in July meeting and the report, along with recommendations made by three other committees, was placed on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Planning Implementation for public comment.

Once the comments are received, it will be considered by the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics and subsequently by the NSC, the statement said. The ministry will thereafter consider releasing official estimates on the back series of GDP data.