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Jaitley spars with Chidambaram over 'hatchet job' remark on GDP revision

Jaitley said the revised numbers were globally more comparable, as they took into account a far greater representation of the Indian economy

Indivjal Dhasmana  |  New Delhi 

Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. File photo

Finance Minister took on predecessor on the revision of the earlier gross domestic product (GDP) data for saying this was the result of a hatchet job.

The back series data in question, said Jaitley, had been calculated by a highly credible organisation, the Central Statistics Office, which maintains an arm's length distance from his ministry.

“Those who took after the new series in 2015 now consider the new series to be a ‘hatchet job’ and a ‘bad joke’. What humours some when data shows an upward trend depresses them if it moves in the reverse direction,” Jaitley said on his Facebook page.

Chidambaram had said on Wednesday of the NITI Aayog's revised GDP numbers: “They are a bad joke. Actually, they are worse than a bad joke. The numbers are the result of a hatchet job.” Jaitley reminded Chidambaram that the latter had, on February 3, 2015, welcomed the new GDP series. He quoted Chidambaram as saying: “The new data successfully establishes the fact that (the Congress-led) UPA (government) had succeeded in reviving the economy.

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The revised will end misconceived charges that UPA mismanaged the economy.” Jaitley said the immediate impact of the revision based on the new GDP series was on the last two years of the UPA government, which left office in mid-2014.

“For the year 2012-13, the growth rate was revised from 4.7 per cent to 5.1 per cent and later again to 5.5 per cent. Similarly, for 2013-14, the GDP growth rate was revised from 5 per cent to 6.9 per cent and later revised to 6.4 per cent,” the minister said.

He said what was revised from the year 2011-12 onwards is now being revised from 2004-05. “Consequently, the same basis which improved the growth estimate in the last two years of the UPA Government somewhat downgraded it in the earlier years,” he added.


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The party’s reaction, said Jaitley, is given by those who perhaps have no more than a nodding acquaintance with the subject. “Data based on facts and on the best global practices is rejected by the party because it takes away the last of its surviving arguments that 'my GDP growth was higher than yours' “, he taunted.

chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had termed the back-series data a “classic” case where “the operation is successful but the patient is dead”. He said the Modi government and its puppet Niti Aayog wanted the people to believe that two and two equalled eight.

Jaitley said the revised numbers were globally more comparable, as they took into account a far greater representation of the Indian economy and were more reflective of its real state.

First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 22:54 IST
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