Former Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya


Former Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya

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New Delhi: Former Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya has said the Modi government has achieved ‘major successes’ in social sector programmes like Ayushman Bharat, PM-Kisan and rural electrification.

Besides, this government has made an ‘unprecedented progress’ in tackling corruption, he added.

On the reforms undertaken by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, he said the three major areas of initiatives were implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and direct benefit transfer (DBT).

In an interview to PTI, the eminent economist said “…Ayushman Bharat, PM-Kisan, cooking gas, rural roads and rural electrification represent major successes of the Modi government. Unprecedented progress has also been made in combating corruption.”

Talking about infrastructure sector, he said the government has managed to greatly accelerate outcomes in sectors like roads, railways, waterways, civil aviation and digitisation.


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On questioning the credibility of statistical data by over 100 economists and social scientists, Panagariya said unless such critics identify precisely what part of the CSO/MOSPI methodology, described in detail in a 40-page document, they find problematic, their statements only amount to assertions.

“None of the international institutions including the World Bank, IMF and the United Nations, have expressed any doubt in the integrity of our statistical institutions or the numbers these institutions generate. Nor have I seen any objective evidence that the institutions have tried to fudge their data on their own or at the behest of any other government departments,” he asserted.

The Columbia University professor also noted that revision of GDP estimates is nothing new and this has been a well established practice.

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan recently had expressed doubts over Indian economy growing 7 per cent when not enough jobs were created and said the current cloud over the GDP numbers must be cleared by appointing an impartial look at the data.

Besides, expressing concern over political interference in influencing statistical data in India as many as 108 economists and social scientists had called for restoration of institutional independence and integrity to the statistical organisations.

Panagariya served as the first vice chairman of NITI Aayog for two years from 2015 to 2017.

 

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