New Delhi, May 9: The ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MOSPI) on Wednesday categorically said that there was no impact of the finding of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report on the GDP numbers as it mounted a strong defence of the country’s data ecosystem.
A report had said MCA-21 database used for calculating the new GDP series was found to be full of holes, raising doubts about GDP data. It added a study by the NSSO had found nearly 36% of the firms -part of MCA-21 database – “could not be traced or were wrongly classified.” It triggered a debate on social media about the quality of India’s data and the process involved.
“It is emphasised that there is no impact on the existing GDP/GVA (gross value added) estimates for the corporate sector as due care is taken to appropriately adjust the corporate filings at the aggregate level based on the paid up capital,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The recent exercise of the National Sample Survey Office to bring out a technical report on the services sector was commissioned by the ministry to understand the data gaps and take remedial steps while undertaking the new base revision exercise for the proposed 2017-18 series. The results of this report will be further examined by the advisory committee before finalising the approach and methodology for the proposed 2017-18 series,” it added.
Experts also said the news report had drawn simplistic assumptions and slammed attempts to undermine the process of data estimation.
“What this means is there are a large number of shell companies. The report shows the number of shell companies is particularly large in the services sector. But whether that leads to an overestimation of GDP is the question?” Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India, said.
“The answer is it does not. Shell companies do not create value on their own but they show value created by the mother company. The value which has been created is shown in the books of the shell company. If you don’t capture that, then you would be underestimating the GDP,” he said.
The ministry also said the 2011-12 series of national accounts statistics incorporated changes in data sources, expansion in coverage of activities and improvements in procedures that are aligned to the latest recommendations of UN System of National Accounts 2008, to the extent data is available.
It said there has been an improved coverage of the financial corporations, local bodies and autonomous institutions, all of which have an impact on the estimates of gross value added. The 2011-12 national accounts series also started using the corporate sector data available from the ministry of corporate affairs in its estimates.