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GDP estimation in India- Perspectives and Facts

Primary Contributors: Bibek Debroy, Rathin Roy, Surjit Bhalla, Charan Singh, Arvind Virmani

“Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world, I spent the rest of my youth traveling, visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks, gathering various experiences, testing myself in the situations which fortune offered me, and at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it.”
- René Descartes

1. India’s improved GDP methodology with base year 2011-12

1.1 GDP calculation has always been an imperfect art. Irrespective of the methodology, there are always some areas that require extrapolation, estimation and sometimes even guestimates based on past trends. However, the essence of the exercise is to always pursue perfection in calculations in a manner that best reflects a country’s situation. India has frequently revised its GDP calculation methodology and the latest one by Central Statistics Office (CSO) that changed the base year to 2011-12 along with other methodological changes (as many countries do regularly) was no different. Key changes over past years also have involved new base years, incorporation of latest datasets, coverage of new activities and adoption of international standards.

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