The larger picture on GDP numbers

The new data on GDP have raised a political storm, with the back series for GDP growth since 1993-94 becoming available. Its importance lies in the fact that in 2015, a new series was announced which showed India’s GDP growing faster than the earlier series had shown. This was politically advantageous to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government which came to power in 2014. The NDA claimed that the second United Progressive Alliance (UPA II) government had messed up the economy and it had turned it around. But, in the new series, the rate of growth during the last two years of UPA II was also higher than what the old series showed so that the economic performance under the UPA also did not look so bad. What the new series also showed was that the NDA had inherited an economy with GDP growing at 8.4% in the second quarter of 2014. Most macroeconomic variables had also recovered from their lows in 2013. Data show that after the NDA took over, the rate of growth fell and then rose to a peak of 8.65% in 2015-16 Q4. After that it fell for five consecutive quarters — to 5.57% by 2017-18 Q1. The two shocks to the economy (demonetisation and then the GST) had a big negative impact on the rate of growth. This is not even captured in the new data since a shock requires a change in methodology for calculation of GDP. The political slugfest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress is due to data showing that the average growth rate under the UPA I and II was higher than what has been achieved during the present NDA regime.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/the-larger-picture-on-gdp-numbers/article24787903.ece

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