Revised GDP Data Shows Modi Govt Better Than UPA, Centre Defends While Opposition Cries Foul
On November 28, the government revised the 2006-2012 Gross Domestic Product growth rates to show a “more accurate picture of the economy”. The new data has been released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in a joint press conference with Niti Aayog on November 28.
As per the new estimates, India recorded a peak growth rate of 8.5% growth in 2010-11 as opposed to 10.3% for the same period in the old report. Niti Aayog, in its official statement, said that the back series had been checked for its “methodological soundness” by leading experts in the field.
Back series released today by CSO has been checked for its methodological soundness by leading statistical experts in the country. #NITIAayog had organized two Round Tables in which domain experts participated to ensure the quality of coverage and methodology. pic.twitter.com/xfVC56NlVN
— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) November 28, 2018
Revised GDP numbers bring controversy
Back series refer to revising the GDP in accordance with the changed base year. Changing the base year is done to calculate the GDP in line with the global trend to effectively capture the economic information accurately, as reported by The Economic Times.
The average growth for the UPA years in the period FY06 to FY12 before the back series, was estimated to be 7.75%, but it has now been revised to 6.82% (6.7%). In comparison, the average growth rate under Modi government has been 7.35%.
Congress and P Chidambaram’s only argument that our growth was better than yours stands demolished when brought on par, basis GDP growth measured by new series, over the UPA and NDA eras! pic.twitter.com/hHqLHKGlr2
— BJP (@BJP4India) November 28, 2018
The old GDP rates were as per 2004-05, which was changed to 2011-12 to calculate fresh data. It may be noted that in August, a recalibration was carried out by the Sudipto Mundle committee set up by National Statistical Commission. That recalibration calculated the growth rates under the UPA regime to be at over 10% in 2006-07 as opposed to 9.57% when calculated without changing the base years.
Defending the latest report by CSO, the Modi government is saying that the August numbers were not actual but done on an experimental basis. The Modi administration further added that the August numbers were only meant to facilitate the adaption of an appropriate approach in calculating back series, as reported by Scroll.
Niti Aayog’s Vice-Chairman, Rajiv Kumar said that the new GDP series is far superior to the August estimates. According to Moneycontrol, “A complex exercise has been carried out by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to update the National Accounts Series. The new series has made significant methodological improvements,” said Kumar.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called CSO a highly credible organisation which maintains “an arm’s length from the Finance Minister”.
Congress accuses Modi govt of manipulating data
Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that the numbers were a 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
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Modi Government and its puppet Niti Aayog want the people to believe that 2+2=8. Such is the gimmickry, jugglery, trickery and chicanery being sold as back series data.”
The Logical Indian Take
Revising base years is a known and recurring practice. However, the recent controversy and mud-slinging is aided and abetted by two major factors. One is that the August estimates showed UPA era in a favourable light while the new data shows BJP era to be better growth wise. Second is the involvement of NITI Aayog in the whole thing, which is leading opposition members to further allege ‘foul’. Technically, the growth trajectories seem to be pretty similar in both cases, however, the political one-upmanship is the basis of the drama.