oppn parties Honest Statistics Peg Lower GDP Growth

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
Honest Statistics Peg Lower GDP Growth

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2020-01-10 10:51:04

For the first time after many years, the National Statistics Office (NSO) has presented an authentic report of the state of the economy and pared down the advance growth estimates for FY 2019-20. The government needs to be complimented for this. Window dressing of economic figures is not good for the economy as it makes investors and rating agencies lose confidence in the government and policy-making goes haywire.

The NSO has said that the GPD is expected to grow at only 5% for the full year (in line with the estimate presented by the RBI earlier). The nominal GDP growth is now pegged at just 7.5%, down from the 11-12% estimated in the last Union budget. This means that the entire fiscal math of the budget is going to turn on its head as a gap of 3.5-4.5% is huge. This also means that the government will be hard-pressed to adhere to fiscal deficit norms this year.

If the rest of the report presents a bleak picture it is in line with the ground reality. Economic activity is down all over India and the figures suggest that the recovery process will be protracted. Manufacturing is expected to grow at 2%, agriculture at 2.8% and construction at only 3.2%. Investments are flat and will grow at a mere 1% compared to 10% last year, while trade as a percentage of the GDP will fall to 39.6% against 43.3% last year. Gross Value Added (GVA) will fall to 4.9%, down from the 6.9% achieved last year.

These honest figures, though depressing for the economy, will gladden the hearts of those who abhor window dressing of statistics. The government has realized that actual figures need to be presented for policy-making and investment purposes. It had earlier set up a Standing Committee on Economic Statistics (SCES), to be headed by the former chief statistician of India, Pronab Sen. The SCES has at least three other economists - CP Chandrasekhar, Hema Swaminathan and Jeemol Unni - who had earlier criticized the government for alleged "political interference" in the working of the official statistical machinery and "the tendency to suppress uncomfortable data". Setting up the SCES and the NSO report are welcome moves to set things in motion to present genuine data before investors, think tanks and policymakers.