Arun Jaitley defends slashing of GDP numbers in UPA era

Arun Jaitley defends slashing of GDP numbers in UPA era

A day after the Congress alleged that the government was manipulating GDP data, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday ordered the Central Statistics Office (CSO) a “highly credible organization”. Information released by the CSO Wednesday showed that the economy grew an average 6.7 percent during UPA I (2005-06 to 2008-09) and UPA II (2009-10 to 2013-14), a percentage lower than the earlier anticipation of 8.1 percent and 7 percent respectively.

The published data, which was calculated based on the new base year of 2011-12, showed that India’s economy grew at a slower pace during the UPA government as compared to the average 7.4 percent growth rate in the first four years of the current NDA government.

“The CSO is a highly credible organization. It wholly maintains an arm’s length from the Finance Ministry. In fact, we also come to know of the data only when it’s finally published,” Jaitley said. “I don’t think any service is being provided by those who discredit the highly credible organization, CSO.”

Jaitley added: “This new series is globally more comparable, takes into account a far higher representation of the Indian economy and is more reflective of the state of the Indian economy.”

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, meanwhile, had tweeted Wednesday evening: “Niti Aayog’s revised GDP numbers are a joke. They are a bad joke.”

“Actually they are worse than a bad joke. The numbers are the outcome of a hatchet job,” he added.

Chief Statistician of India Pravin Srivastava Wednesday said the new methodology is robust and aligned with UN Standard National Accounts. “We had to recalibrate the whole economy based on the production output and the datasets available using the approach which is internationally accepted…we are more than confident that what we have produced today is more robust…it was a very comprehensive exercise. I believe that what we are seeing is perhaps a better depiction of what was there earlier,” Srivastava said.

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