New Delhi: The government has set up a 13-member expert panel to revise the way economic activity is measured at state and district levels as part of a move to update the base year for calculating national income to 2017-18 from 2011-12 now. An official notification from the ministry of statistics and programme implementation said that the panel chaired by Ravindra Dholakia, retired professor from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad,has one year to submit its report.

The idea is to capture the structural changes in the economy and make the calculation of gross domestic product (GDP) more precise. A wider direct and indirect tax base on account of measures to curb black money and reforms like goods and services tax (GST) is expected to improve the assessment of the extent of economic activity at state and lower levels.

Tax base and payrolls are usually taken as indicators of the formal nature of an economy. The panel has been asked to review data sources and data requirements for preparation of state domestic product (SDP) and district domestic product (DDP) as well as to suggest state-level surveys in view of the next base year revision of national accounts.

The ministry has already made clear its intention to revise the base year for GDP to 2017-18 by adding new data sources and by updating existing ones.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO), under the ministry, revises the base year of macroeconomic indicators, as a regular exercise, to capture structural changes in the economy.

The base year for GDP was last revised to 2011-12 in January 2015 replacing the old series base year of 2004-05. To boost economic growth, the government has been taking steps to make it easier to do business, improve energy access, develop the north-east region and improve governance.

At present, six states—Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Rajasthan—account for half of the country’s gross domestic product, going by the values at current prices for the year 2015-16.

Agriculture, manufacturing and real estate, ownership of dwellings and professional services contribute the most to the overall gross state domestic product in these states.

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