NCAER hosted a seminar by Dr Surjit S. Bhalla, Executive Director for India, Nepal and Bhutan at the International Monetary Fund, based on his joint paper with Karan Bhasin and Arvind Virmani, “Poverty, Inequality and Growth in India: 2011/12-2017/18.” Dr Sudipto Mundle, Distinguished Senior Fellow at NCAER, was the discussant. The seminar was attended by members of the NCAER Research Team, and invited guests from various eminent institutions across Delhi.
Good quality, reliable and timely statistics are critical inputs into informed public policy formulation. There has been a growing debate regarding the quality of India’s economic statistics over the last few years. The purpose of this paper is to address some of the issues around the debate on growth and the quality of statistics. This debate has centered on the lack of robustness of national accounts data. In addition, there is a wide, and widening, divergence in the consumption estimates of NSO and the national accounts. The 2017-18 Indian NSO Consumption Expenditure Survey revealed a first-ever absolute decline in per capita consumption between 2011/12 and 2017/18.
The Bhalla, Bhasin and Virmani paper estimates poverty, inequality, and growth between 2011/12 and 2017/18 by looking at all available data, including the two India Human Development Surveys collected by NCAER and Maryland, night-lights data, NSO data, and administrative data.
Surjit S. Bhalla is Executive Director for India, Nepal, and Bhutan at the IMF. He was earlier a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and Chairman of Oxus Research & Investments in New Delhi. He is a member of NCAER’s Governing Body. Bhalla has worked as a research economist at the Rand Corporation, the Brookings Institution, in the research and treasury departments of the World Bank, and as a consultant to Warburg Pincus. He has worked on Wall Street at Deutsche Bank and at Goldman Sachs. He is the author of several academic papers and books, Imagine There’s no Country (2002), Devaluing to Prosperity (2012), and The New Wealth of Nations (2017). His first book, Between the Wickets: The Who and Why of the Best in Cricket (1987), developed a model for evaluating performance in sports. Bhalla is a regular contributor to Indian newspapers, magazines, and television on financial markets, economics, politics and cricket. He is a contributing editor for the Indian Express. Bhalla has a PhD in Economics from Princeton University, a MPA from Princeton, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.