The new Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data takes into account a far greater representation of the Indian economy, said Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday, a day after the Congress accused the government of resorting to “malicious and fraudulent jugglery”.
“In Feb 2015, the CSO (Central Statistics Office) 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,” Jaitley said in a press conference.
He also pointed that CSO is a credible organisation and maintains an arm’s length distance from the finance ministry under him.
“When in 2015, this data was released, it revised the GDP growth in the last two years of the UPA government. Curiously at that time, the GDP had grown upwards. At that time, it was welcomed by the people in the new government,” he said.
The government on Wednesday lowered the country’s economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, shaving off over one 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.
CSO estimated that India’s GDP grew by 8.5% in the financial year 2010-11 (April 2010 to March 2011) and not at 10.3% as previously estimated, recalibrating data of past years using 2011-12 as the base year instead of 2004-05.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala termed the release of the data, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year, a “classic” case where “the operation is successful but the patient is dead”.
Surjewala alleged the entire GDP back series data released by the Centre reflects the desperate attempt of a “defeatist Modi government” to undermine India’s growth story over the last 15 years.
“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’,” he said in a statement.