GDP: Final decision on revising GDP base year to be taken within 2-3 months: Chief Statistician

Economy


KOLKATA: Chief Statistician of India Pravin Srivastava on Monday said a final decision on revising the base year for GDP growth calculation will be taken in 2-3 months as the Centre is waiting for certain survey results.

Srivastava’s statement came a day after the Congress criticised the BJP-led central government’s plan to revise the base year from the current 2011-12 to 2017-18 for calculating the GDP growth.

“The 2017-18 (as the base year) was a decision taken early in 2016. We are waiting for certain results of surveys and on the basis of that, a decision will be taken on what the base year will be,” Srivastava, also the Secretary to Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, said here.

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A group of experts will discuss and a decision is expected in the next 2-3 months, he said.

Srivastava was speaking on the sidelines of a two-day conference of central and states statistical organisations here.

“It (2017-18 as the base year) had never been finalised. Normally, we do it in every five years. If we have to choose any base year, we need time to start surveys for that. The decision of 2017-18 was taken earlier to do surveys. Based on the surveys, we have to take the decision on whether it is a good economic year or not,” Srivastava told.

He further said, “We had earlier decided that 2009-10 was not a good year though surveys had taken place. When the results came out, it was realised that we had to shift the base year to 2011-12.”

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had on Sunday criticised the Centre’s plan to revise the base year to calculate the gross domestic product growth from the current 2011-12 to 2017-18, saying it was a “terrible” idea.

Citing a media report in this regard, he had asked if it was only to make Modi 2.0 government look good on GDP growth rates.

Ramesh had also suggested that 2018-19 should be made the GDP base year as 2017-18 was “an abnormal year with notebandi (demonetisation) and hasty GST”.

When asked whether the fiscal 2018-19 is under consideration for the base year, he said, “The year 2018-19 is not possible as the year is over and we cannot do the survey retrospectively. It (surveys) can only be prospective. The earliest that we can have is 2020-21,” Srivastava said.

Speaking on the theme-Sustainable Development Goals- of the conference, Srivastava said, India has been “a party to the decision for adopting the SDGs” globally and the central government has adopted it.

“We have developed the National Indicator Framework (NIF) and on the basis of which, we monitor the progress of the economy. The baseline (for SDGs) is 2015-16,” Srivastava said.

The NIF has about 300 indicators and many more are to be developed, he said.

Srivastava also said, “We are now sitting with state governments and trying to evolve a parallel state indicator framework so that they (states) can adapt the national and state-level indicator and align their plans, schemes and priorities with the national and global indicators.”



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