Economy

CSO releases supply and use tables to clear doubts on GDP data

Surabhi New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 13, 2016

TCA Anant, Chief Statistician

Will help explain discrepancies seen in GDP numbers

In a bid to reduce discrepancies in the national accounts or gross domestic product data (GDP), the Central Statistics Office has now released supply and use tables that balance the production and consumption activities in the economy.

The CSO has brought out supply and use tables (SUTs) for 2011-12 and 2012-13 and hopes to make it an annual exercise.

The SUTs will help explain why the discrepancies are seen in the GDP data.

The supply table describes the supply of goods and services, which are produced in the domestic industry. The use table shows where and how goods and services are used in the economy.

The SUT, which gives data on 140 products and 66 industries of the Indian economy, provides a complete description of the economy by giving detailed information on the production processes, the inter-dependencies in production, the use of goods and services as well as generation of income through production.

Institutionalising SUT

“We are trying to give the SUTs annually. We have given it for two years and work is on for the next year. With luck, we will institutionalise it so that regular SUTs will be published,” said TCA Anant, Chief Statistician and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

In effect, it links the output of industries as products and their intermediate and final uses. However, the SUTs can only be compiled once the final data sets for GDP compilations such as the Annual Survey of Industries have been released. “At that stage you have all the information to eliminate the discrepancy,” Anant told BusinessLine.

The annual SUTs would also be an improvement on the earlier input-output tables, which were compiled by the CSO as part of its exercise of revising the base years for GDP series.

Apart from concerns over the high growth rates, the new series with a base year of 2011-12 has also been dogged with questions on high discrepancies – the variation between the calculation on production and consumption side of the GDP.

The issue had come to the fore when the CSO had released the GDP data for 2015-16 on May 31 this year. At the time, it had estimated GDP growth of 7.9 per cent for the fourth quarter of the fiscal and 7.6 per cent for the whole of 2015-16.

But, there were widespread concerns on the rates of discrepancies which were estimated at 0.1 per cent and 1.9 per cent at current and constant (2011-12) prices respectively during 2015-16, as against the corresponding rates of 0.4 per cent and (-) 0.3 per cent respectively in 2014-15.

More worryingly, discrepancies in the fourth quarter of the 2015-16 jumped up to ₹1,43,210 crore from ₹29,933 crore in the corresponding period a year ago and raised questions about economic growth.

If these discrepancies were removed then the GDP growth in the fourth quarter would have been 3.9 per cent and full fiscal at 5.2 per cent.

Back-series

While welcoming the SUT, analysts however, said that there continues to be a need for a back-series to link the new GDP series with the earlier series with a base year of 2004-05.

“The SUT will certainly help as there are a lot of questions relating to value addition and manufacturing in the new GDP series. But, what is more needed is a fairly long, back series of the current GDP series to link up with the old series and explain where the divergence between the two is taking place,” said Abheek Barua, chief economist, HDFC Bank.

Published on October 13, 2016
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