Social Scientist. v 4, no. 48 (July 1976) p. 69.


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MOTE

Current Matonal Income Statistics: What They Tell

IN THE paper under the same title in the Economic and Political Weekly^ Urn a Datta Roy Chowdhury and Pratap Narain have attempted to make an overall analysis of the economic trends for India during the last two decades and a half. The object of the present note is to comment on some of their observations and to indicate some aspects of the Indian economy revealed by national income statistics not stated explicitly by the authors.

Roy Chowdhury and Narain have made ^a study of the sectorwise distribution of national product which shows an appreciable change in the structure of the economy over the period of the study. Thus, the primary sector which accounted for as much as 57 per cent of net domestic product in 1950-51., has come down to the level of 52 per cent in 1960-61 and has continued to be around 45 per cent since then. They have also indicated that one way of overcoming the fluctuations in the behaviour of the primary sector would be ^to study the trend after removing their effects by using a series of moving averages only". They have not., however, calculated the moving average values. A calculation of 5-year moving averages has been made here to give a smooth series for the primary sector and also for the secondary and tertiary sectors. The results as given in table I show a more or less declining trend for the primary sector while both the secondary and tertiary sectors show an upward trend. This result, therefore, lends support to the authors' observation of c appreciable5 structural change.

It has been further observed in the paper that an examination of the national income series at constant prices grouped into commodity-producing sectors and services supports the proposition that ^in the early stages of economic development the service sector grows more rapidly than the rest." And they conclude that ^the service sector did move more rapidly and would perhaps do so for still some time to come or in other words, till the economy reached the desired level of development". This observation reauires a careful examination.

If one looks at the occupational structure of India as revealed by census figures one would get a different picture. Table II shows the



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