New Delhi: India sought to put an end to a controversy about political influence on government data, with a top finance ministry official saying revisions to economic statistics are a fact and the revisions themselves are based on facts.
“It might not appear to be meeting people’s expectations, for some,” Subhash Chandra Garg, the economic affairs secretary in the finance ministry, said in an interview to Bloomberg TV. “But the revision is based on real data.”
Garg’s clarification comes a week after 108 economists from around the world accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration of deliberately revising or withholding statistics that show his government in poor light. The issue has become a politically sensitive one ahead of elections beginning next month, especially with revisions to gross domestic product data that show economic growth under Modi to be among the fastest ever.
“The results are there for everyone to see,” Garg said, referring to the downward revision in the current financial year’s GDP data. “It’s not that any revision that has been done has positive messages all over.”
In January, a yet to be made public jobs data, reported by the Business Standard newspaper, showed unemployment rate at a 45-year high. The controversy has potential to hurt the credibility of India’s data as well as the image of Modi, who came to power promising to create 10 million jobs every year, and also make investors wary of jobless economic growth.
“Outside investors have higher degree of confidence in India’s performance,” Garg said, adding: “The long term story of India is steady and intact.”