Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the Centre’s decision to revise down the Gross Domestic Product growth rate numbers for the years when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in power. The new back series data published by the Central Statistics Office on Wednesday showed that growth during the UPA years was lower than estimated earlier.
On Thursday, Jaitley claimed the Central Statistics Office is a “credible organisation” which is not influenced by the Ministry of Finance, PTI reported. “I don’t think any service is being rendered by those who discredit the highly credible organisation, Central Statistics Office,” Jaitley said, perhaps in a reference to former Finance Minister P Chidambaram calling the new GDP numbers a “joke”.
Jaitley claimed that when the Central Statistics Office had revised the GDP growth rate for 2012-’13 and 2013-’14, the last two years of the UPA rule, the government had welcomed it, ANI reported. He added that in February 2015, the office worked on a “new formula” to calculate GDP growth, using 2011-’12 as the base year. “This new series is globally more comparable, takes into account greater representation, and is more reflective of the state of the economy.”
In August, the National Statistical Commission had released the back series data – older GDP data revised in line with the new series – which showed India’s economy had grown by over 10% for at least one year when the United Progressive Alliance, led by the Congress, was in power. India changed the base year for calculating GDP growth to 2011-’12 after the Narendra Modi government took over.