GDP numbers: Jaitley hits back at Congress, says CSO ‘credible organisation’

Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the revision in India’s GDP growth rate during the previous UPA era and called the new series more credible and reflective of the actual state of the Indian economy.

He also claimed that it was done by a “highly credible” organisation, the Central Statistics Office(CSO), which does not interfere into the matters of the finance ministry.

He further said that the revised numbers, based on a new formula with 2011-12 as the
base year take into account a greater representation of the Indian economy and are globally more comparable.

When asked about Congress  throwing a barrage of criticism at Modi government for the new GDP series claiming that it has shaved almost 1 per cent off the average GDP growth during the UPA regime, Jaitley replied, “In the last two years of UPA government, which are years 2012-13 and 2013-14, curiously at that time, the revision had made the GDP grow upwards. At that time it was welcomed by the people in the then government. In fact they said that the new GDP series has conclusively established that we did not mismanage the economy. Now in continuation of the same exercise, applying the same yardstick, the new series has been made applicable.”

After reassessing the data of past years using 2011-12 as the base year instead of 2004-05, CSO estimated that India’s GDP grew by 8.5 per cent in the fiscal 2010-11 under the UPA regime, and not at 10.3 per cent as previously estimated. Vexed at the lowered GDP rates, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram termed the revised GDP rates as a “hatchet job” and something “worse than a bad joke”.

Retaliating to this comment, Jaitley said, “The growth on the basis of the new series may be revised upwards or downwards depending on the applicability of the data; the formula is the same. When you compare GDP from 2004-05 till 2018, you can’t have two different periods with two different yardsticks. Now based on the same yardstick, for the earlier eight years of UPA, the GDP had been revised downwards. So you gain in some years you lose in some years. What was welcomed by the UPA in 2015 is now being criticized in the year 2018 because it revises it downwards.”

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