One-Day National Workshop on
‘Evidence-Based Policy Making’
Indian Experience with National Databases on GDP, Manufacturing and Employment
March 20, 2019
Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai
Globally, policymakers and academics highlight the critical role of reliable and consistent data in planning and monitoring development in a given context. This has made ‘evidence-based policymaking’ popular in the discourses on development. Dissemination of national databases covering key areas like demographic indicators and socio-economic aspects of the country to the larger public and engagement with them have strengthened planning and monitoring at different levels in India. While some private agencies have emerged as leaders in big data analysis and in exploring the scope of large databases, government databases continue to have greater acceptance among academics, policymakers and the larger public.
In the Indian context, statutory and autonomous bodies dealing with national macro data sets have their own history and undergone changes in response to the needs of the economy. The Indian Statistical System (ISS) has too undergone a series of changes in the last few years, with the three crucial ones being: shifting the base year of National Accounts Statistics (NAS) to 2011-12 from 2004-05; moving away from the conventional Establishment approach to the new Enterprise approach in manufacturing; and shifting to the Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS) from the NSSO’s Employment and Unemployment Surveys (NSSO-EUS) in the domain of employment surveys.
GDP: In January 2015, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) shifted the base year of NAS to 2011-12 from 2004-05. Whenever the Indian NAS gets rebased, some changes between the old and new series are expected because of better method of estimation, newer database, use of more recent price indices and so on. The changes introduced in the earlier NAS revisions were more of a peripheral nature, but those that occurred in the latest 2011-12 series were major due to the CSO’s adherence to a wide range of recommendations of United Nations System of National Accounts 2008 (UN SNA 2008) and also because of the availability of a wider data set in this age of information technology.
Manufacturing: With the NAS revision came the shift to the new enterprise approach from the conventional establishment approach to estimate manufacturing output. These changes have a potential to overestimate the gross value added (GVA) of manufacturing because unlike the old approach, which only captured production-based data from factories registered under the Factories Act, the enterprise approach goes beyond manufacturing to capture value addition in the supply chain post-manufacturing.
Employment: Similarly, there have been changes introduced in the employment-unemployment surveys. These changes have enormous implications for representation, periodicity, and timeliness and hence in improving the reliability and usability of NSSO data. The methodology adopted for PLFS, for instance, is a departure from those of the earlier NSSO-EUS rounds in many aspects and are not be fully comparable. In addition, the government has done away with quinquennial surveys, and the current PLFS will provide annual employment-unemployment figures for rural areas and quarterly figures for urban areas.
These changes have enormous implications not only for the estimation of different components of the economy but also for users to access, analyse and compare different data sets. Hence, we propose a day-long workshop to discuss each of these issues in detail.
For details, contact the organising team
Dr. Kalaiyarasan A.,
Dr. Jafar. K.,