ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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CSOs Surprise

The CSO's 'quick estimates' of national income and other related aggregates for 1987-88 should cause some raising of eyebrows. Just a few months back every effort was being made by the government to project the theme that the country was facing one of the worst droughts on record. A 7 to 10 per cent fall in food production from 144 million tonnes to 130-134 million tonnes was deemed a foregone conclusion. The drought was also expected to take a heavy toll of production of oilseeds and sugarcane. Instead, the CSO has now reported only a 3.5 per cent fall in foodgrains production from 143.4 million tonnes in 1986-87 to 138.4 million tonnes. Amongst other crops, there was actually an increase in the production of oilseeds (9.8 per cent), sugarcane (5.7 per cent) and potato (11 per cent). As a result, GDP (or NDP) generated in agriculture is now seen to have fallen by only 1 per cent in 1987-88 (which was lower than the fall of 2 per cent in 1986-87) in contrast to the anticipated decline of 7 to 10 per cent. While this may not be ground enough to jump to the conclusion of statistical manipulation by the authorities, it cannot be denied that there have been instances in recent years of the department of agriculture tinkering with the timing of release of agricultural output figures to suit the ruling party's convenience and even tampering with production statistics. What can be said is that there is considerable circumstantial evidence to suggest that the output figures for 1987-88 are not above suspicion and that the overall GDP growth of.3.6 per cent (as against 1 to 2 per cent expected in the Economic Survey) may be an overestimate.

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