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No plans to change base year for GDP calculations amid COVID outbreak: Govt

No plans to change base year for GDP calculations amid COVID outbreak: Govt

While selecting a new base year, several activities, including new surveys, are to be planned and carried out to have the latest data for use in the revised base year, the govt explained.

The exercise of base year revision of national accounts is guided by the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics (ACNAS). The exercise of base year revision of national accounts is guided by the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics (ACNAS).

The government on Monday stated that it has no plans to change the base year to 2020-2021 for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) calculations. The current base year for GDP calculations on constant prices is 2011-12. 

"... the onset of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has impacted the economic activities in major ways during 2020-21 and also hampered the data collection required for the base revision. Therefore, the government has no plan to consider 2020-21 for the base year revision," said the minister of state (Independent charge) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation  (MoSPI) Rao Inderjit Singh in a written reply to a question raised in the Rajya Sabha. 

Explaining how this situation came to be, Singh conveyed that according to the United Nations System of National Accounts (UNSNA), the member countries are required to revise the base year of their macro-economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross Value Added (GVA), etc. periodically, to better capture the structural changes in the economy.

The exercise of base year revision of national accounts is guided by the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics (ACNAS) comprising experts from the central and state government, academia, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other domain-specific experts.

While selecting a new base year, several activities, including new surveys, are to be planned and carried out to have the latest data for use in the revised base year. 

Singh explained, in the written reply, that the ACNAS had earlier recommended to consider 2017-18 as the new base year. However, in the last meeting of ACNAS held on October 30, 2019, it was decided that 2017-18 may not be considered as the new base year as it was not a normal year. 

"In addition, due to non-availability of additional data on consumption, employment, unincorporated manufacturing and services sectors etc., it was decided that instead of 2017-18, the year 2020-21 may be considered as base year for revision," stated Singh. 

However, he added that during during the above mentioned meeting of ACNAS, 2018-19 and 2019-20 were also ruled out for consideration of base year due to lack of requisite data sets for revision.

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