GST can help provide data faster
Dated NEW DELHI, September 3, 2017
India is moving towards systems that ensure timely reporting, says Chief Statistician Anant.
The country’s key economic statistics, particularly high-frequency indicators such as the index of industrial production, could become far more dynamic in the years to come, thanks to the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax — which requires all producers above a certain threshold to register and file returns online, according to the Chief Statistician of India.
“Moving towards a dynamic index (of industrial production), ideally where the economy as it stands today is captured as soon as possible, requires reporting systems that are much more timely. As a nation, we are in the process of moving towards that and one of the best examples is the implementation of GST,” Dr. TCA Anant said at a data users’ workshop on the new series for the index of industrial production (IIP), held by the Central Statistics Office.
Pointing out that the Annual Survey of Industries estimates were often released with a lag of two years, he suggested such delays could perhaps be avoided, going forward. “All of this changes as we move towards more online governance systems, with faster reporting. These...create possibilities for the statistician.”
The GST regime, he said, required virtually every producer of goods and services to register and file returns online on production characteristics.
Feasibility to be studied
“It raises the possibility that we can create much more dynamic indices. But whether they will be feasible or not, whether the necessary degree of disaggregation in GST filing will be available or not, are matters that will have to be carefully studied before this can be answered,” said Dr. Anant, who is the secretary in the ministry of statistics and programme implementation.
GST registrations can also provide the statistical machinery with a dynamic frame of entities that are producing above certain thresholds, along with details of their location and the products they make, he said.
Earlier, registration and other governance systems were often decentralised and largely paper-based, making the updating of databases a time-consuming exercise.
“The frames under which IIP and most industrial statistics are compiled, is based on... the registration systems followed under the Factories Act — a decentralised mechanism with different States maintaining different registers,” he said.