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India manipulating economic data, using it against China: State media

union budget Updated: Feb 17, 2016 16:13 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
China state media

China's President Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. Chinese state media has said India is manipulating and creatively using economic data against China.(AFP File Photo)

Chinese state media on Monday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policies and accused India of manipulating and creatively using economic data to endorse the claim that it has caught up with China.

India’s growth “on-paper” has triggered social problems and its labour class is struggling to survive rather than looking at the quality of life, a condescending opinion piece in the nationalistic Global Times newspaper said.

The critical piece raised questions on the methods India used to calculate its economic growth.

“India has reportedly changed the statistical method of GDP and other important economic indicators several times in order to moisten the data to make the government seem more credible,” the article said.

“In 2015, India’s on-paper GDP growth rate of 7.4% has exceeded that of China’s 6.9% for the first time by the ‘creative’ use of a new statistical method of GDP at market prices rather than at factor cost,” it added.

India’s recent and sudden economic surge has come at a time when China is experiencing its worst economic slowdown in decades – its GDP is slowing, overcapacity is plaguing major sectors and exports are falling.

But China’s economy is still three times greater than India’s and the number of poor people in the country is much lower than in India. The article did not fail to remind readers of that point.

“The number of people living in absolute poverty in India is far greater than any other country in the world, and high unemployment and inflation are still troubling many. Ethnic conflicts, religious conflicts and regional unrest are increasingly serious due to the catalysis of the disparity between the rich and the poor,” said the article jointly written by Dai Yonghong and Wang Jianping from Sichuan University.

It failed to point out though that the disparity of income between the rich and the poor in China is among the worst in the world.

The article contended India could learn from China’s mistakes.

“The success of China in the past lies in the power and prosperity of the first wave of investment after the late 1970s, but the present China is also suffering some failures stemming from that. The ultimate reason why China is attempting to make a bold economic transition under the leadership of President Xi Jinping is because of the recognition that capital can be a misfortune rather than a blessing.”

And, of course, India’s curse is democracy, according to the authors.

“A highly efficient Chinese government finds it difficult to deal with the troublesome middle income trap, so how can one expect Modi’s successors to drag the ‘burdensome democracy’ of India to create miracles?”