A portal is being planned for online collection of data on industrial production for greater accuracy in assessing the economic activity, Statistics Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said today. On whether the GDP data to be released tomorrow will be more realistic after factoring in new series of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) with change of base year to 2011-12, Gowda said: “Most certainly”. When asked about the impact of new series of IIP and WPI on national accounts data for the January-March quarter as well as the entire financial year, 2016-17, he said: “There is change in all systems of the economy across the country. All our data is collected by latest technology. We are coming up with data with clarity and minimum time lag.”
At the inauguration of a new office building of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), he said the Central Statistics Office is planning to develop a web-based data collection system for IIP, which is compiled on monthly basis to assess the growth of factory output and released with a lag of 6 weeks. Earlier this month, the new series of IIP and WPI with new base year of 2011-12 was released. The CSO had released the new series of national accounts, revising the base year from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in January, 2015.
Several experts and economists have raised doubts over the accuracy of the GDP numbers because CSO had been using data inputs from IIP and WPI with 2004-05 base year. Earlier this year, the CSO came out with two advance estimates of the GDP and pegged the economic growth at 7.1 per cent after factoring in note ban in the later projection. Chief Statistician T C A Anant, present on the occasion, said: “We had told you that as and when the IIP series is revised, it will be incorporated (in GDP estimates). The benefit of that revision will certainly will flow into GDP estimates. The IIP and WPI are used in GDP compilation.”
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Asked about improvement in terms of numbers, he said: “I have not been given an advance intimation about the numbers. You will see it tomorrow.” Anant also said: “National Sample Survey has begun from April 1, 2017, field work on new survey, which will be collecting new data on employment in the country. This will be a continuous survey.” This survey is in line with Prime Minister’s call on regular employment data, he said, adding: “It will give labour force characteristic of both rural and urban area. In addition, for urban areas on quarterly basis, it will also give changed characteristic of key indicators. This is in continuation of labour force survey done every five years.”
On this, the minister said: “My ministry’s data collection exercise has gone digital with conduct of quarterly Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) using tablets, and guided by computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) technique.” Gowda further said that the project is expected to result in huge time savings and will be performed by the surveyors of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), who will track and upload employment data, among others. He also informed that India is participating in the current phase of International Comparison Programme (ICP) with reference to 2017.
It is a global statistical initiative that supports inter-country comparisons of GDP and its components, using purchasing power parity. “My ministry will take up the price collection work in rural and urban areas shortly all over the country,” he said.