GDP back series: new battleground for Cong, Modi govt

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram speaks during a press conference at AICC Headquarters, in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

The GDP back series has become the latest battleground between the Congress and the Modi government with former finance minister P Chidambaram claiming on Sunday that “official figures” had proved that best economic growth was under the UPA rule between 2004 and 2014.

Chidambaram said the “official figures” on the GDP back series, that show UPA years in a better light than the NDA, were from reports prepared by economists Sudipto Mundle and NR Bhanumurthy.
 
However, the Modi government made it clear that the estimates presented in the reports were “not the official estimates” but only recommendations to decide on the appropriate methodology to be adopted for generating the back series estimates for each sector.
 
The Mundle committee report showed that the Indian economy had clocked double-digit growth twice under former prime minister Manmohan Singh — 10.23% in 2007-08 and 10.78% in 2010-11.
 
Chidambaram seized on the Mundle report to hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for making a “determined effort” to run down the UPA’s 10-year track record on handling the economy.
 
“The back series data is now available. The numbers prove the dictum that truth cannot be suppressed forever and truth has a way of emerging amidst a torrent of lies and distortions,” the former finance minister said.
 
He said when the UPA tenure ended, economic growth had recovered, the fiscal deficit was reduced to 4.48% and the current account deficit was reined in at 1.7%.
 
“Unfortunately, after the first two years, the (NDA) government stumbled and the momentum was lost. The main reasons were demonetisation, flawed implementation of the GST (goods and services tax) and tax terrorism,” he added.
 
The National Statistical Commission, which had set up the Mundle committee, issued a statement saying there seemed to be some confusion in a section of the media as also amongst a few economists and academicians that the back series data of GDP has been officially released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
 
“It is clarified through this press note that the methodology for back-casting GDP series has not been finalised and various alternative methods are being explored,” the commission said.

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GDP back series: new battleground for Cong, Modi govt

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