Statistical twist to help 2012/13 growth look better

NEW DELHI Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:17pm IST

An Indian woman laborer and her daughter break bricks using a hammer at a construction site in Chandigarh March 8, 2003. REUTERS/Ajay Verma/Files

An Indian woman laborer and her daughter break bricks using a hammer at a construction site in Chandigarh March 8, 2003.

Credit: Reuters/Ajay Verma/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's growth rate for the fiscal year ending in March will receive a slight statistical boost due to a downward revision to 2011/12 economic growth, a senior government official said on Thursday.

India has lowered its estimate for gross domestic product growth in 2011/12 to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent, a government statement said on Thursday, increasing the base effect calculating the current year's growth.

Ashish Kumar, a senior official at the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, said the 5.4 percent economic growth for the first half of 2012/13 would also be revised upward.

"The GDP number for 2011/12 has been revised down as the previous year's growth number has been revised up after getting latest data on industrial and fishing production for that period," Kumar said.

The government is due to release advance growth estimates for 2012/13 on February 7.

The Reserve Bank of India has forecast growth of 5.5 percent for the year, while Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram has forecast 5.7 percent.

Private economists and the Reserve Bank of India, the country's central bank, have often complained about the frequent revisions made to key indicators as they affect policy-making and forecasting.

"The volatility in data revisions is quite disturbing though we realise it is an onerous task. It raises questions about the reliability of data," said Jyotinder Kaur, an economist at HDFC Bank, India's second-largest private lender.

"However, the saving grace is that trend in numbers remain in the same direction," Kaur said.

The Central Statistics Office revised up economic growth for 2010/11 fiscal year to 9.3 percent from 8.4 percent, while manufacturing growth was revised up to 9.7 percent, and farm output to 8.8 percent for that period.

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar; writing by Malini Menon; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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