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‘Gimmickry, jugglery’: Congress after govt slashes GDP rate during UPA era

The government on Wednesday lowered the country’s economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA regime, 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.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2018 09:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
GDP data,GDP,Congress
“The revised ‘New Series’ computed today by the Ministry of Statistics and Niti Aayog has completely undermined the NSC (National Statistical Commission), the autonomous body for deciding data transparently and in accordance with global standards of calculating GDP as per Market Price Linked Methodology.(HT File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley have resorted to “malicious and fraudulent jugglery” of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures to hide the “enormous body blow” caused by them to India’s economy, the Congress has accused.

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.

His remarks came after 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.

The Central Statistics Office (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.

Read: Economy doing better under NDA, shows govt data

Similarly, 9.3% growth rate each in 2005-06 and 2006-07 was lowered to 7.9% and 8.1% respectively, while 7.7% rate was now estimated for 2007-08 instead of 9.8%.

“Manipulated ‘back series data’ will not change Modi government’s ‘exit date’. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji’s new definition of GDP is ‘Gimmickry Data Product’,” he said.

Surjewala alleged a failed “Modinomics plus a Pakoda economic vision” has put India’s economy in complete turmoil, and the prime minister and his finance minister have caused economic “mayhem” by the “ill-conceived” decisions of demonetisation, a “flawed” GST coupled with “tax terrorism”.

“Faced with an utter and complete rejection of the ‘voodoo economics’ of the Modi-Jaitley duo, they are resorting to malicious and fraudulent jugglery of GDP figures to hide the enormous body blow caused by them to India’s economy,” he said.

Surjewala alleged that since the advent of the NDA government in May 2014, there has been a determined effort to run down the record of the two UPA governments under Manmohan Singh during 2004-2009 and 2009-2014. A lot of confusion was sown and the Modi government added to the confusion by changing the base year from 2004-05 to 2011-12, he said.

The Congress leader said his party has repeatedly pointed out that when the base year was changed, the government should follow the healthy international practice and revise the numbers for the previous years.

“We had demanded that the back series data of GVA and GDP should be calculated and released so that meaningful comparisons can be made,” he said, adding the back series data as released by National Statistical Commission (NSC) in August 2018 is available in the public domain and numbers prove that the truth cannot be suppressed.

The opposition leader claimed UPA-1 and UPA-2 delivered the highest decadal growth of 8.13% at factor cost since Independence and during this period 140 million people were lifted out of poverty.

When the UPA demitted office, economic growth had recovered to 6.39% at market prices in 2013-14. Besides, the fiscal deficit was reduced to 4.48% and the current account deficit contained at 1.7%, he claimed.

“The revised ‘New Series’ computed today by the Ministry of Statistics and Niti Aayog has completely undermined the NSC (National Statistical Commission), the autonomous body for deciding data transparently and in accordance with global standards of calculating GDP as per Market Price Linked Methodology.

“Today, the Modi government deceived the country by surreptitiously changing the methodology in order to manipulate GDP data. This is called ‘Excel Sheet Management’ i.e deciding the result first and filling the marks later. The new methodology is GVA based, which does not take into account tax+subsidies and consequently is extremely flawed to subserve the myopic interests of the Modi government,” he said.

Under the Modi government, Surjewala alleged, there has been complete stagnation in investment and the Gross Fixed Capital Formation in the last three years has remained constant at 28.5%.

“At that level of investment (GFCF), it is not possible to achieve higher growth rates,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 08:26 IST