Economic census 2019 to include geotagged data of business enterprises


The upcoming Seventh Economic Census 2019 will include geotagged data of business enterprises to ensure that no bogus enterprises are included in the official statistics, a senior official said. The move comes even as the government is facing questions over its national income numbers and growth estimates.

Field officials conducting the survey will include live locations of the enterprises via their mobile phones, the official told ET. “Geotagging will help to organically clean the database.”

At the first stage, there will be a physical check and geotagging of all enterprises by the officers of Common Service Centres, the access points for delivering government e-services in rural and remote areas. This would be followed by a sampling check in which government’s field officers will randomly verify the location of the enterprise.

The geotagging is expected to help weed out the shell companies and thereby improve data quality.

This comes after a National Sample Survey (NSS) technical report on services sector enterprises in India released last week had shown that nearly a third of the companies included in the MCA-21 data were either missing or wrongly classified.

This led to further criticism of the official GDP calculations as MCA-21 data is used for calculating corporate value addition in the new series with 2011-12 base. The new GDP series has been under criticism for showing high growth not corroborated by high-frequency indicators and sharp revision in earlier estimates.

The government had on Wednesday said the shortcomings had not impacted the data. “It is emphasised that there is no impact on the existing GDP/GVA estimates for the corporate sector as due care is taken to appropriately adjust the corporate filings at the aggregate level based on the paid-up capital,” MoSPI said.