Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation Current Affairs - 2019

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Revision of GDP Estimates

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the First Revised Estimates of National Income, Consumption Expenditure, Saving and Capital Formation, 2017-18. The highlights of the revised estimates are:

  • The forecast for GDP growth for 2017-18 was increased to 7.2% from the earlier estimate of 6.7%.
  • The actual growth rate in 2016-17 has been increased to 8.2% from the 7.1% estimated earlier.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation clarifies that the revision of the estimates for 2015-16 and 2016-17 are on the account of the availability of the latest data on agricultural production, industrial production, government expenditure (replacing the Revised Estimates with Actual for 2016-17) and also more comprehensive data available from various source agencies like the MCA and the NABARD and State/Union Territory Directorates of Economics and Statistics.

Criticisms against the Revision

The Economists criticise the revision because of the following reasons:

  • The numbers do not match up to the ground realities.
  • The data corresponding to the demonetisation year of 2016-17 shows strong growth in sectors that were widely agreed to have been badly hit by the exercise.
  • The main factor for the revision was the increase in private final consumption expenditure which was increased by 1 percentage point. This was inconsistent with the idea of people having less cash to make purchases.
  • The other main driver of the upward revision was the construction sector which was revised upwards by 4.7 percentage points. The earlier analyses had indicated that construction which has a large informal sector component was adversely affected similar to other informal sectors due to demonetisation.
  • Other drivers for the upward revision in 2017-18, mining and quarrying sector and the public administration sector had data that is compiled by the government itself. Hence they should not have undergone such a vast revision. .

With 2019 being a election year, critics also cry foul play on part of the government to project a happy picture before the general elections.

National Statistical Commission

National Statistical Commission was established in 2005 based on the recommendations of the Rangarajan Commission. The commission was established through an executive order and it works under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

The Rangarajan Commission recommended the establishment of a permanent National Commission on Statistics to serve as a nodal and empowered body for all core statistical activities of the country, evolve, monitor and enforce statistical priorities and standards and to ensure statistical co-ordination among the different agencies involved.

Composition of the Commission

The Commission consists of a part-time Chairperson, four part-time Members, an ex-officio Member and a secretary. The Chief Statistician of India who is the Head of the National Statistical Office is the Secretary of the Commission and the Chief Executive Officer of the NITI Aayog is the ex-officio Member of the commission.

Mandate of the Commission

The mandate of the National Statistical commission include:

  • To identify the core statistics, which are of national importance and are critical to the development of the economy.
  • To constitute professional committees or working groups to assist the Commission on various technical issues.
  • To evolve national policies and priorities relating to the statistical system.
  • To evolve standard statistical concepts, definitions, classifications and methodologies in different areas in statistics and lay down national quality standards on core statistics.
  • To evolve national strategies for the collection, tabulation and dissemination of core statistics, including the release calendar for various datasets.
  • To evolve national strategies for human resource development on official statistics including information technology and communication needs of the statistical system.
  • To evolve measures for improving public trust in official statistics.
  • To evolve measures for effective coordination with State Governments and Union Territory Administrations on statistical activities including the strengthening of existing institutional mechanisms.
  • To exercise statistical co-ordination between Ministries, Departments and other agencies of the Central Government.
  • To exercise statistical audit over the statistical activities to ensure quality and integrity of the statistical products.
  • To recommend to the Central Government, or any State Government, as the case may be, measures to effectively implement the standards, strategies and other measures related to statistics.
  • To advise the Government on the requirement of legislative measures on statistical matters including the statute for the National Statistical Commission
  • To monitor and review the functioning of the statistical system in the light of the laid down policies, standards and methodology.

The commission has also been entrusted with the functions of the Governing Council of the National Sample Survey Office which include overseeing the conduct of National Sample Surveys (NSS) on various socioeconomic subjects through the NSSO and the State Directorate of Economics and Statistics.