On November 19, claims of India becoming a $4-trillion economy went viral on social media platforms.
A screenshot from an unverified live tracking Gross Domestic Product (GDP) YouTube feed called LiveStream07 suggested that India's GDP had crossed the $4-trillion mark for the first time. The YouTube feed claims to collate real-time GDP data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
However, this is incorrect as the IMF told BOOM they do not collate real-time GDP data. There is also no official government report stating this figure yet.
The claim was first made by right-wing accounts on X (formerly Twitter) then picked up by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and newspaper outlets.
BOOM found out that Rishi Bagree had later deleted his post on X.
Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, also posted on X, saying, "This is what dynamic, visionary leadership looks like! That’s what our #NewIndia progressing beautifully looks like! Congratulations to my fellow Indians as our Nation crosses the $ 4 trillion GDP milestone! More power to you, more respect to you Hon PM @narendramodi ji!."
Here's the archived link.
India is the world's fifth largest economy, behind the United States of America, China, Germany and Japan. Viral claims of India's GDP reaching the $4 trillion milestone are false. There is no official comment or statement from the government yet. BOOM reached out to the IMF for clarification regarding the collation of real-time GDP data. "In the World Economic Outlook which was cited as the source of data in the YouTube video you shared, we do not collate real time data and only publish either projections or past data," IMF told BOOM.
Who compiles and publishes GDP-related data in India ?
GDP data is officially collected and published by the National Statistical Office (NSO) which falls under the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation. It releases the quarterly numbers and then provides an annual estimate, which is subject to revisions, Ashok K. Bhattacharya, author of India's Finance Ministers: From Independence to Emergency (1947-1977) and Editorial Director at Business Standard told BOOM. The next release of quarterly GDP estimates for the quarter July-September, 2023 (Q2 2023-24) will be on November 30, 2023, according to a PIB report.
This also means that ideally, GDP figures cannot be pushed out as real-time time figures on a live social media feed. "GDP figures cannot become a real-time figure, unless someone is trying to project the annual growth through an average over the year. Such a projection will be flawed because GDP growth cannot be captured in that manner," said Bhattacharya.
"NSO provides data with a lag of two months. We will get Q2 (second quarter) numbers on 30th November. I also don’t think IMF independently calculates GDP numbers. They take it from the official sources only," Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist at Bank of Baroda told BOOM.
Further, Deepak Shenoy, CEO of the CEO at Capitalmind also refuted the viral claims on X. According to Shenoy, India's GDP hasn't reached the $4 trillion mark yet. "We are about $3.38 trillion as of June, and possibly $3.45 trillion now, at best." he posted on X.
Real GDP or GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q1 2023-24 is estimated to attain a level of ₹ 40.37 lakh crore, as against ₹ 37.44 lakh crore in Q1 2022-23, showing a growth of 7.8 percent as compared to 13.1 percent in Q1 2022-23.
According to the MoSPI, "Quarterly Estimates of GDP are indicator-based and are compiled using the benchmark-indicator method, i.e.,quarterly estimates available for the previous year referred to as the benchmark year are extrapolated using the relevant indicators reflecting the performance of sectors. Data sourced from various Ministries/ Departments/ Private Agencies serve as valuable inputs in the compilation of these estimates. The sector-wise estimates have been compiled using indicators like (i) Index of Industrial Production (IIP), (ii) Financial performance of listed companies in the Private Corporate Sector based on available quarterly financial results for these companies, (iii) Crop Production Targets for 2023-24, (iv) Production Targets for Major Livestock Products for 2023-24, (v) Fish Production, (vi) Production/ Consumption of Cement and Steel, (vii) Net Tonne Kilometres and Passenger Kilometres for Railways, (viii) Passenger and Cargo traffic handled by Civil Aviation, (ix) Cargo traffic handled at Major and Minor Sea Ports, (x) Sales of Commercial Vehicles, (xi) Bank Deposits and Credits, (xii) Accounts of Central and State Governments, etc."
When will India's GDP reach $4 trillion?
"If you take the nominal size of the economy to reach Rs 301 trillion during 2023-24, which is the estimate given in the Union government's Budget for 2023-24, then the current year's dollar GDP, assuming an average exchange rate of Rs 83 to a US dollar, is about $3.6 trillion. At this rate, it is reasonable to assume that India would cross the $4 trillion mark in 2024-25," Bhattacharya concluded.
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