CSO to release GDP data a month in advance to enable early budget presentation

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) will be ready with its advance estimates of GDP growth by almost a month earlier in the light of the government advancing the date for budget presentation to 1 February, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said in an interview with Doordarshan.

Since planning essentially depends on present status of the economy and future needs, available of economic data will greately help the plan exercise. The earlier planners get the figures, the better the scope of advancing estimates.

''We get the GDP advance estimates in the first week of February,''  Das said. ''This year, the CSO has agreed to give us this figure in the first week of January and based on that we can extrapolate the GDP for the current year and next year,'' Das said.

''The expenditure numbers are not linked to the GDP figure, so this year we are adopting the extrapolation approach and next year, the CSO has taken steps to advance the data collection so we can get it by the first week of January,'' he said.

Ds said GDP figures this year are expected to be better than the 7.6 per cent growth witnessed in 2015-16, on the back of improved farm sector output this year. 

The budget 2017-18, however,  is expected to be leaner than the previous years, mainly because of difficulties in projecting revenue expectations.

Also, he said, the Finance Bill will be a much more compact document, due to the proposed rollout of the Goods and Services Tax in 2017.

''There are always several changes in central excise and service tax that are incorporated in the Finance Bill. But they are now a part of GST, so those changes won't be there in the Finance Bill,'' he added.

He said that the Department of Revenue and the state governments are fully prepared for a 1 April 2017 rollout of GST. The tax related legislation is expected to be presented in the Winter session of Parliament, which begins on 16 November.