International Monetary Fund Raises Red Flags Over India's Delay In Release of Financial Data
The data system in India is once again in the news for the wrong reasons. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised concerned about delays in the release of financial data by the Indian government.
The IMF’s “Annual Observance Report of the Special Data Dissemination Standard for 2018”, says that India has failed to comply with prescribed Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDF). As per the table on page six of the report India, in 2018, has deviated from the SDDS in at least one instance in all the data categories listed. In every quarter India has missed the timelines with delays of more than 100 days in some cases.
The IMF’s report is a cause of worry for India, as other BRICS nations such as Brazil, China, South Africa, and Russia have consistently maintained their track record during the same period.
When asked about the reason for the delays in 2018, Deputy Director in the Department of Economic Affairs Aakanksha Arora termed it as a “one-off event due to technical glitches,” reported The Hindu.
“Since the Ministry of Finance website was being upgraded, the National Summary Data Page in it could not be updated,” the Finance ministry officials told The Hindu. The IMF too has termed the data deviations as ‘non-serious’ as the information was available on the other website.
Recent Data Deviations
Just before the recently held Lok Sabha polls, Business Standard published an ‘unreleased’ NSSO survey report on unemployment which indicated an alarming situation, with unemployment figures touching a four-decade high.
The report which was published in February this year was refuted by the government, only to be accepted in May, just a week after the General Election results were declared.
Amid growing tensions between the government and social scientists and economists earlier this year over the withholding of employment data, 108 concerned eminent economists wrote to the government about the increasing political interference in the statistical data in India and to restore the institutional integrity of the data system in India.
The economists came together to raise their voice against the government’s consistent pressurisation to suppress ‘uncomfortable data’.
The suppression is not just limited to the financial and economic data, but also with the other national database such as farmer suicides. The NCRB, which is supposed to keep the suicide data, has not been updated after 2016.