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Finance minister Arun Jaitley backs new GDP numbers

Average growth rate during the UPA regime (2005-14) was 6.7% while for the NDA period (2015-18), it was 7.3%

By R. Suryamurthy in New Delhi
  • Published 30.11.18, 2:41 AM
  • Updated 30.11.18, 8:49 AM
  • a min read
Arun Jaitley Picture: Prem Singh

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the revised GDP growth rate numbers and said they were far more credible than those of the earlier series as they were more inclusive and representative of the economy.

However, the methodologies adopted by the CSO and the Mundle panel triggered a debate with economists stating that the data sets need to be scrutinised threadbare.

“The Central Statistics Office is a highly credible organisation. It completely maintains an arm’s length distance from the finance ministry. We come to know of data only after finally it is released,” said Jaitley.

“All individuals who have headed the CSO are of the view that this data is far more reflective of the situation in the Indian economy and therefore have far more credibility.”

The revision of GDP estimation methodology is a continuous process and attempts to discredit it were unwarranted, Jaitley said.

According to the back series data released by the Central Statistical Organisation on Wednesday, the average growth rate during the UPA regime (2005-14) was 6.7 per while for the NDA period (2015-18) it was 7.3 per cent.

This is in contrast to the Mundle panel estimation in August that the average growth of the decade-long UPA tenure was 8 per cent against 7.3 per cent during the NDA regime. The back series shaved off over 1 percentage point from the only year India posted double-digit GDP growth post liberalisation.

A noted economist, who did not want to be quoted, said “when different economists do economic modelling, it is but natural to get different results. We should treat the current GDP exercise as a version provided by experts and not go beyond. Different methodologies will lead to debates which would help in coming out with better models in the future”.