India’s GDP calculation methodology sparks debate


By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: As India adopted a new way of calculating its gross domestic product (GDP) six months ago, the data is in controversy with many people questioning it. There is a debate going on whether or not these numbers be taken on its face value.

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However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seems to welcome the debate, adding that the government has no role in this matter.

He said at The Economist magazine’s annual conference, “The manner in which the CSO (Central Statistics Office) functions is autonomous and independent of the government… they work at arm’s length from the government, while the models they employ are all internationally compatible.”

India’s new series of GDP figures continue to be wrapped up in controversy, over six months after its release.

Questions pertaining to the new estimates of India’s national income have been raised by several critics. Raghuram Rajan, Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has stated publicly that it is difficult to take the new GDP numbers at face value and that he needs to study them further.

A committee headed by National Statistical Commission Chief, Pronab Sen, has been set up to examine the estimation methodology. He has however been a vocal supporter of the new series. “In the meanwhile, let both the exercise as well as the debate continue, which is always welcome in democracy,” the minister said.

The Indian economy grew by seven percent in the first quarter of this fiscal, showing signs of slowing vis-a-vis the 7.5 percent expansion in the quarter before. But the growth was much higher than 6.7 percent registered in the first quarter of the last fiscal.

The new number seem quite contradictory when compared with other economic indicators such as the revenue growth of listed firms and bank credit growth, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), as well as real ground level challenges for companies such as weak demand, high debt and low earnings.

with inputs from IANS