Report by government-backed panel has pegged average growth under UPA at 8%, higher than that during 4 years under NDA.
New Delhi: The Modi government has said that a GDP report that showed higher growth during the UPA years than under four years of NDA rule is only a draft and “should not be quoted anywhere”.
The back-series GDP growth report was published on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation website on 25 July. But it became controversial after it was reported by the media at the end of last week and triggered a war of words between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.
On Monday, the report was removed from its original url or web address in the reports section of the ministry website and posted in the ‘Draft Reports’ section of the National Statistical Commission under the ‘About Us’ section of the website as a ‘Draft Report on Real Sector Statistics’.
“The Committees constituted by the National Statistical Commission has submitted Draft Reports for wider Public Consultation. These Reports are not final and the figures/estimates are also not final and should not be quoted anywhere,” the introduction to the ‘draft’ report said.
“The Reports have not been approved by National Statistical Commission or MoSPI.”
The report triggered a war of words between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress after which the ministry issued a statement Sunday saying that this was not an official estimate.
The report, prepared by a government-backed panel under economist Sudipto Mundle, concluded that India grew at a record 10.8 per cent in 2010-11 when Dr. Manmohan Singh was prime minister. It compared growth rates between the old series, 2004-05, and the new series based on 2011-12 prices.
A top government official told ThePrint that the report should not have been published as it did not have the approval of the MoSPI advisory council. The report now came with a disclaimer as it is the “personal view” of Mundle, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The MoSPI advisory council will have to examine the report and approve it or make amends, the official added.
Government sources and independent economists said the report, which became public just ahead of the 2019 elections, could become a cause for concern for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party.
The report also suggested that the average growth rate was at over 8 per cent during the 10-year rule of UPA.
Congress cashes in
The Congress was quick to cash in. Former finance minister P. Chidambaram tweeted, saying, “The back series calculation of GDP has proved that the best years of economic growth were the UPA years 2004-2014.”
The State Bank of India’s economic research department published a quick analysis of the data, saying that while India clocked the highest growth of 10.8 per cent in 2010-11, it could sustain the high growth due to high inflation.
“In fact, most of the information about GDP series was already in public domain (for example, we already had a 10.3 per cent growth in 2010-11 as per the old data, now revised to 10.8 per cent) and thus the buzz about the recent data is intriguing,” the SBI report said.
This report has been updated with information that the back-serires GDP growth report has been moved to a new location on the MoSPI website and published with a disclaimer.