Understanding the flow of savings and investment in an economy is vital. It has never really been clear to me the way they are calculated within Indian Statistical System. CSO has explained the methodology but it not very clear.
Saumitra Chaudhury (of ICRA and EAC member) explains in his note the mechanics of the same. (It is an old paper in 2005 but is very relevant)
The note begins by looking at the possibility that savings may be overestimated in India. In 2003-04, when savings as a % of GDP was 28.1% and investment is 23% of GDP this view gained importance. In order answer the question he explains the way savings and investment are estimated in India.
Read the paper for details.
The findings are also pretty interesting. He turns the hypothesis on the heading. He says savings have risen but it very much within the trend. Infact it is investments which are underestimated!
He adds, savings are not a constraint in India anymore.
….if savings are close to 28 per cent of GDP, then financial resources cease to be a constraint to growth. Which marks the departure of the final member of the trinity of constraints that have ever since Independence been viewed as the principal constraints to economic growth in this country; the other two—food and foreign exchange—having had made their respective exits some years earlier.
So what are the constraints then?
The only reason investment may not materialise where there is a felt need, is the absence of a meaningful revenue model, which for the most part derives from the weakness in the regulatory framework and administrative inefficiencies.
Further expenditure inefficiencies are endemic to the government sector and the only good thing about it is that the productivity gains that are potentially attendant on improve- ments in expenditure efficiency are so vast that even modest efforts in this direction are bound to yield enormous dividends to the economy.
The danger lies in trying to continue the public sector programme unreformed and unreconstructed, drawing from the larger pool of financial resources that exist in the economy. Hopefully the downside dangers will not materialise.
The last point is a well made point. It is now emerging as a consensus in most policy research that public sector is there to stay. The best idea is to initiate reforms in the public sector and not try and do away with it.