Committees Current Affairs

Government sets up task force on ways to reduce import

The Union Government constituted a high-level task force under Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to identify various items and policy interventions to reduce dependence on imports. It will suggest ways to cut import of those items which can be manufactured or explored in the country. The task force includes secretaries from Departments of Commerce, Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Revenue, Skill Development, Defence Production, Petroleum, Steel, Electronics and Telecommunications.

Background

The move holds significance as India is heavily dependent on imports of several items such as oil, machinery, electronic hardware, pharmaceuticals ingredients including (active pharmaceuticals ingredients), gold and chemicals. On an average, India’s imports stand at around US $450 billion per year. In financial year 2017-18, the inbound shipments grew about 20% to US $460 billion.

India’s oil imports during same fiscal had risen by 25.47% to US $109.11 billion. Though increase in imports of intermediates and raw materials reflects boost in economic activities, but the inbound shipments of final goods impact domestic manufacturers. Earlier, concerns were raised over high dependence on pharmaceutical ingredients from China by trade experts.

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Ravindra Dholakia committee: Government forms panel to upgrade norms for state, district level economic data collection

The Union Government has constituted 13-member Committee for Sub-National Accounts to upgrade the norms for computation of economic data at states and districts level in backdrop of plans to revise the base year for National Accounts or Gross Domestic Production (GDP) calculation. It will be headed by Ravindra H Dholakia, a retired professor of IIM Ahmedabad.

Terms of Reference of the Committee

The committee will review concepts, definitions, classifications, data conventions, data sources and data requirements for preparation of State Domestic Product (SDP) and District Domestic Product (DDP) and to lay down revised guidelines. It will also suggest measures for improving SDP and DDP in the country taking into consideration availability of data and requirements of Centre and States/UTs. It will also suggest state level annual and benchmark surveys keeping in view needs of System of National Accounts especially in view of next base year revision. It will submit its report within one year.

Background

The Central Statistics Office (CSO), under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) revises the base year of macroeconomic indicators, as regular exercise, to capture structural changes in economy and improve quality and representativeness of indices. CSO had last updated base year for GDP calculation to 2011-12 from January 2015, replacing old series base year of 2004-05.

MOSPI is planning to change base year to 2017-18 for calculation of GDP and Index Industrial Production (IIP) numbers from current 2011-12 with an aim to capture changes in the economy. At conference of central and state statistical organisations (COCSSO) earlier this year, it was suggested that same principles and concepts should be used while calculating SDP and DDP across the country to make data comparable.

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