New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the revision in India’s GDP growth rate during the previous UPA era, saying the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which came out with the revised numbers, was a credible organisation and maintains arm’s length distance from the finance ministry.Also Read - Massive Jump! India's GDP Likely to Grow 8.1 Per Cent in Q2 FY22, Says SBI Report
A day after Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava, in an unusual move, 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.” Also Read - India On Path To Achieve Forecast Of 9.5% Growth This Year, Says RBI Governor As Economic Activities Gain Pace
“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, takes into account greater representation and is more reflective of the state of the economy,” he added. Also Read - Padma Shri Award 2021: Kangana Ranaut, Karan Johar Among 119 Recipients This Year
The Finance Minister further said, “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.”
“Now in continuation of same exercise, applying same yardstick, new series has been made applicable from 2004-05. So growth on the basis of new series maybe revised upwards or downwards depending on applicability of the data, the formula is the same,” Jaitley said.
Just months before the general elections, the country’s economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA regime was lowered 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.
Earlier on Wednesday, former finance minister P Chidambaram called the revision a “bad joke.” He said, “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.”
Calling the revision a “hatchet job” by Niti Aayog, Chidambaram had tweeted, “Now that Niti Aayog has done the hatchet job, it is time to wind up the utterly worthless body.”
“The earlier numbers were calculated by the National Statistical Commission. Has the commission been disbanded?,” he said in another tweet.
“Former Chief Statistician Pranab Sen is absolutely correct. Niti Aayog has nothing to do with tabulation of data,” he had said. “I wonder if Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar will agree to a debate the data than telling journalists that their questions are “undeserving of an answer”,” Chidambaram added.
(Inputs from PTI)