The country’s GDP for 2016-17 will get a 50 basis points (bps) push to 7.6 per cent from the government’s estimate of 7.1 per cent, due to the recent revision of the base year of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), India’s former chief statistician Pronab Sen said.
“The 2016-17 GDP is going to be pushed up further from earlier estimates because of the change in the base year of IIP and WPI to 2011-12 from 2004-05. It could be… 40-50 bps higher in 2016-17 to what was predicted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO),” Sen, who is currently the country director at the International Growth Centre, told IANS.
“Since WPI is used for converting the current price series of GDP to constant price, the growth rate is going to step up further. There is a chance that GDP may get revised upwards on the basis of IIP also. IIP is used to calculate the non-corporate sector GDP. So, there will be some effect there as well,” Sen said.
CSO had predicted a growth rate of 7.1 per cent for 2016-17, in which the October-December quarter was predominantly marked by the demonetisation. The estimate has been questioned by analysts with the arguments that the projected growth rate failed to take into account the impact of demonetisation. Sen said that the problem lies in the fact that the maximum brunt of demonetisation was felt by the unorganised sector and there is no assessment available on it.
“You are using essentially organised sector data to approximate what is happening in the unorganised sector. The direct measure of unorganised sector that we get is only once in every five years. In the interim, for the manufacturing sector, what is used is the IIP. But the IIP does not directly measure the unorganised sector. It only measures larger registered units, employing more than 10 people,” he told IANS.
Sen noted that the government should come out with the revised GDP figures for all the years post 2011-12 as the change in base year of the key macroeconomic indicators will push up all the growth figures of the country.
“This data simply brings all three (GDP, WPI, IIP) in sync. They will hopefully release the full series from 2011-12 up till now because the entire series is going to change. It will change not only for the current year but right from 2012-13 onwards,” he said. “Because both IIP and WPI are used in the calculation of the GDP. We had a situation where the series that we got since 2011-12 have all been based on old IIP and old WPI, which is giving rise to a lot of unnecessary confusion,” he added. He also pointed out that the revision in the base year of the key macroeconomic indicators was “unusually delayed this time” and should have been done by the end of 2015-16.
“As far as WPI, IIP is concerned, the revision in base year should have been done a year and a half ago. Why this lag, I don’t know. It should have come out by the end of 2015-2016. This delay is unusual. It has not happened before,” he said.
“It was a large exercise. Delays usually take place on getting the firms to submit the data. This process takes time, but this time it has taken too long. Maybe the number of firms being surveyed this time was much larger,” he added.
Despite the push on account of revision of base year, Sen said that it was unlikely that India will see an eight per cent growth in the current fiscal as it lacked a sustainable export growth and the global economy was still not performing well.
“It is unlikely that eight per cent growth is achievable in the current fiscal, given the fact that the global economy is still not doing hell of a lot. It is very unlikely that we will be able to cross 8 per cent on a sustained basis. You need strong export growth. So far the only export growth that you see is for one month. You don’t know how sustainable that’s going to be,” Sen told IANS.