Indian’s economy grew faster during the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as compared to the average growth recorded in the first four years of the Modi government, according to back series calculations released last week by a National Statistical Commission panel. The economy grew in double digits twice during the previous UPA regime, the government-appointed Committee on Real Sector Statistics had disclosed. According to the panel’s report, the average gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 10.23% in 2007-08 and 10.78% in 2010-11.
Having been falsely accused repeatedly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having done “nothing” in the past 70 years, the Congress party went to town with the newly-released data, showing that its stewardship of the economy in the previous two UPA governments had produced higher GDP growth compared to the present NDA Government.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram challenged PM Modi to match up with the UPA's GDP rate in its fifth year. "Truth has triumphed. The back series calculation of GDP has proved that the best years of economic growth were the UPA years 2004-2014. I wish the Modi government well in its fifth year. It can never catch up with UPA I, but I wish it catches up with UPA II," said Chidambaram. Former Law minister Kapil Sibal tweeted “The truth can’t be suppressed for long. Modiji says nothing happened prior to 2014. Now we know India clocked the highest GDP growth ever between 2004-2014: Average 8.4% and in 2005-06 10.2%. Stop ‘ bhashan’, concentrate on ‘shashan’ Modiji!”
Perhaps stung by the embarrassment, the Modi Government on Sunday, August 19 said that the GDP back series data in the panel’s report are "not official estimates" and that the official data would be released later. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) said in a statement that "these are not official estimates". "The estimates in the report are not official estimates and are meant only to facilitate a decision on the appropriate approach," it said.
The MoSPI has revised the base years of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) to 2011-12 and for the Consumer Price Index (CPI), or retail inflation, to 2012.
The National Statistical Commission (NSC) also said in a separate statement on Sunday that the methodology for back-casting of GDP series is a "work in progress" and yet to be finalised. The NSC had constituted the Committee on Real Sector Statistics under the Chairmanship of Sudipto Mundle in April 2017 for improvement and modernisation of the real sector database.
"It is clarified that the methodology for back-casting of GDP series has not yet been finalised and various alternative methods are being explored," the Ministry said. “The methodology, as also the series using the methodology, will be worked out using the suggestions made by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics and other suggestions that emanate during the consultancy process."
According to the statement, the committee also looked at the issue of data challenges in bringing out the Back Series of GDP (Base 2011-12) as several new sources had been used in the current series, which were not available, or not reliable, in the earlier series (Base 2004-05).
The MoSPI also said that the committee approached the data challenges using different approaches. Three possible approaches were considered for generating the back series.
The recommendations of the NSC Committee will be examined by MoSPI and other experts for deciding on the appropriate methodology to be adopted for generating the back series estimates for each sector.
"The Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics will be deliberating on the Back Series estimates before finalising the same for continuity, consistency and reliability," the MoSPI said.
It said that the statistical processes involved in producing such estimates are open, transparent and in line with the best international practices and standards.
"The processes and estimates are evolved after detailed deliberations in various technical committees and the recommendations placed in the public domain. Efforts have also been made to increase the sample size and use of high frequency data released by various agencies," the Ministry said.
With IANS inputs