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economy | IST

Finance minister Arun Jaitley defends CSO, GDP growth data, says Congress applied same yardstick earlier

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Union finance minister on Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the Central Statistics Office (CSO) regarding the lowering of country's economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA regime, says it's a credible organisation and maintains arm's length distance from finance ministry.

Union finance minister on Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the Central Statistics Office (CSO) regarding the lowering of country's economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA regime, says it's a credible organisation and maintains arm's length distance from finance ministry.
Yesterday, the government lowered the country's economic growth rate, 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 percent in the financial year 2010-11 (April 2010 to March 2011) and not at 10.3 percent as previously estimated.
Jaitley said, “I don’t think any service is being rendered by people who choose to discredit a highly credible organisation like the CSO because it’s data is based on facts and the revised formulations which is a continuous exercise because every time you try and improve upon the formulations to make them more representative of the real state of economy.”
Congress earlier accused the Narendra Modi government of "manipulating" GDP data of previous years and said it reflects a desperate attempt to undermine India's growth story over the last 15 years.
Calling Congress bluff on CSO data, the finance minister said, “Now based on the same yardstick for the earlier 8 years of UPA, the GDP has been revised downwards. So you gain in some years, you lose in some years. Data is realistic and it’s not fictional. And this formula is globally more comparable. So what was welcomed by the UPA in 2015 is now being criticised in the year 2018 because it revised it downwards.”
"When in 2015 this data was released, it revised the GDP growth in the last two years of UPA government, that is 12-13, 13-14. Curiously at that time, the revision had made the GDP growth move upwards. So there was an improvement which was shown as an improvement in the two years. 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," Jaitley said.
Further, he said CSO has applied the same yardstick for GDP data from 2004 till 2018, "On February 3, 2015 this statement was categorically made by form finance minister, welcoming the new series. Now in continuation of the same exercise applying the same yardstick the new series have been made applicable from 2004-05. So the growth on the basis of new series maybe revised upwards or downwards depending on the applicability of the data."
“Yesterday, the CSO published figures working backwards on applying the new GDP series. It was in February 2015 that the CSO worked on a new formula with 2011-12 as the base year and the new GDP series was announced. At that time they had revised the new GDP series from 2012-13 onwards. Since then all GDP data whether quarterly or annual have been based on new series this new series is globally more comparable, it takes into account, a far greater representation of the Indian economy and is more reflective of the real state of Indian economy," Jaitley added.