Government slashes GDP growth in UPA era

New Delhi: The Modi government on Wednesday lowered the GDP growth rate during most periods in the UPA regime, shaving off over 1 percentage point from the only year when India posted double-digit GDP growth post liberalisation. The recalibration has been done to give a more accurate picture of the economy during the UPA regime, which suggests that the figures were dressed up by the Congress.

The GDP growth rates for the financial years 2006-2012 have been revised using new back series data, Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava was cited as saying at a press conference. According to the latest data released by the CSO, the economy in the financial year 2010-2011 grew by 8.5 per cent and not 10.3 per cent as was estimated earlier. Similarly, the 9.3 per cent growth rate each in 2005-06 and 2006-07 has been lowered to 7.9 per cent and 8.1 per cent, respectively, while 7.7 per cent rate has been recalibrated for 2007-08 instead of 9.8 per cent.

Significantly, the revised growth numbers have been released ahead of the 2019 general elections. At a joint press conference along with the Chief Statistician, Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said the variation in the two sets of numbers was due to the recalibration of data in certain sectors of the economy, including mining, quarrying and telecom. The new series has made significant methodological improvements, Kumar claimed. He also said that the New Series is “internationally comparable and in sync with UN Standard National Account.

When asked if it was a coincidence that GDP numbers have been revised downwards only for the UPA period, Kumar replied in the negative. Kumar further said the government has no intention to “mislead or try and do something purposefully” which does not reflect the reality. Incidentally, in January 2015, the Modi government had moved to a new base year of 2011-12 from the earlier 2004-05 for national accounts.

The so-called back-series data released on Wednesday contradicts an August 2018 report prepared by the National Statistical Commission, the autonomous body that helps in collection of data by India’s statistical agencies. In the report, which the government had subsequently stated was a draft, the economy grew at a faster pace under the UPA government from 2004-05 to 2013-14, compared with the average growth during the first four years of the current government. It had put the GDP growth at 10.08 per cent in 2006-07 under the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the highest since the liberalisation of the economy in 1991.

The highest ever growth rate since Independence was stated to be at 10.2 per cent in 1988-89 when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. The committee’s report has not been accepted and Kumar said the methodology adopted by them was flawed. – INPUT PTI

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