Tuesday, 17 May, 2022
HomeEconomyTiming of new numbers bothersome, says economist behind controversial back-series GDP data

Timing of new numbers bothersome, says economist behind controversial back-series GDP data

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Sudipto Mundle was the economist behind first back-series GDP report that showed higher growth during UPA. He says CSO will just have to explain new numbers.

New Delhi: The revised and official back series GDP data, which was released Wednesday, needs to be scrutinised but there are no grounds to suggest that it has been doctored, noted economist Sudipto Mundle said Thursday.

Mundle was the economist behind the first back-series GDP report, which too kicked up a row in August (although it was published in July), after it showed higher growth during the UPA years (8 per cent) than in the four years of NDA rule (7.35 per cent). The Modi government had then insisted that the report was only a draft and “should not be quoted anywhere”.

The latest draft back-series data reverses that position, and projects the average growth rate during the NDA government’s tenure to be 7.35 per cent but reduces growth in the UPA years to 6.82 per cent.

The data has led to accusations that it has been tinkered with and has a sparked a political battle, with former finance minister P. Chidambaram slamming the revised GDP numbers as being a “joke”.

His successor, Arun Jaitley, defended the data, saying that it was wrong to “discredit” the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which put out the numbers.


Also read: India’s GDP growth depends on which party was in power & under which party it was measured


‘Questions will arise, CSO needs to be prepared with answers’

Mundle told ThePrint that the manner in which the exercise has been carried out will throw up several questions, adding that the CSO needs to be prepared with the answers.

“The new data will naturally be scrutinised… At this point, I cannot comment without going through it in detail,” Mundle told The Print. “But I am sure they would have used additional statistics to arrive at these figures… What is a little bothersome is the manner in the way the issue has been handled and the timing of it.”

Mundle also pointed out that when the earlier series of data was published in July, nobody took note of it.

“There was no talk or any kind of controversy for about a month… But all of a sudden in August, people took note of it and immediately a political controversy broke out,” he said.

Asked whether there were flaws in data collation by his team, he said that inflow of information and statistics is a constant process.

Mundle’s data had the backing of Niti Aayog chief Rajiv Kumar, who had then said that there was no problem with the numbers but said the economic growth under UPA got a boost due to indiscriminate bank lending and stimulus package.

On Wednesday, however, Kumar said the latest data was more accurate and that it had been derived through a more detailed methodology.


Also read: Become a democracy, achieve 20% higher GDP growth: New study


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