Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the revision in India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate during the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) era, saying the Central Statistics Office (CSO) was a credible organisation and maintains an arm's length distance from the finance ministry. The CSO is responsible for bringing out the data.
A day after Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava announced the revised numbers based on back-series data alongside NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, Jaitley said, "I don't think any service is being rendered by those who discredit the highly credible organisation, CSO."
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had Wednesday called the revision a "bad joke." "Niti Aayog's revised GDP numbers are a joke. They are a bad joke," he had tweeted. "Actually they are worse than a bad joke. The numbers are the result of a hatchet job."
Actually they are worse than a bad joke. The numbers are the result of a hatchet job.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 28, 2018
Now that Niti Aayog has done the hatchet job, it is time to wind up the utterly worthless body.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 28, 2018
In February 2015, the CSO worked on a new formula with 2011-12 as the base year and a new GDP series was announced. This new series is globally more comparable as it takes into account greater representation and is more reflective of the state of the economy, Arun Jaitley said. He added that when the CSO had revised upward the growth rate of 2012-13 and 2013-14, the then government had welcomed the decision. The same yardstick has been applied by the CSO while revising the growth downwards, he said.
“Now in continuation of the same exercise and by applying the same yardstick, a new series has been made applicable from 2004-05. Therefore, growth on the basis of a new series may be revised upwards or downwards depending on applicability of the data but the formula is the same," the finance minister said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: In Feb 2015, the CSO worked on a new formula with 2011-12 as the base year & a new GDP series was announced. This new series is globally more comparable, takes into account greater representation & is more reflective of the state of the economy. pic.twitter.com/aJxYSWcImL— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2018
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: This data revised the GDP growth in the last 2 years of UPA government. At that time, revision had made the GDP grow upwards, at that time it was welcomed by the people in the then government. pic.twitter.com/6mjbqcDaUY— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2018
Just months before the general elections, the country's economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA regime was lowered on Wednesday, shaving off over 1 percentage point from the only year when India posted double-digit GDP growth post-liberalisation and from each of the three years with 9-plus per cent expansion.
Recalibrating data of past years using 2011-12 as the base year instead of 2004-05, the CSO estimated that India's GDP grew by 8.5 per cent in the financial year 2010-11 (April 2010 to March 2011) and not at 10.3 per cent as previously estimated.
Similarly, 9.3 per cent growth rate each in 2005-06 and 2006-07 was lowered to 7.9 per cent and 8.1 per cent, respectively, while 7.7 per cent rate was now estimated for 2007-08 instead of 9.8 per cent.
(With agency inputs)