Jaitley refutes Congress' charges on GDP back data series

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New Delhi (IANS): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday rejected the Congress criticism of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) back series data released on Wednesday as "malicious and fraudulent jugglery", saying it was realistic and not fictional.

"Data is realistic. It is not fictional. And this formula is globally more comparable. So what was welcomed by the UPA in 2015 is now being criticised in the year 2018, because it revises it downwards," he told reporters.

He said the CSO was a highly credible organisation and it completely maintains an "arms length distance" from the finance ministry.

"In fact we also come to know about the data only when it is finally released," he said.

The Congress on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of resorting to "malicious and fraudulent jugglery" of GDP figures to hide the "enormous body blow" caused by them to India's economy.

Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that "failed Modinomics" plus a "pakoda economic vision" has sunk India's economy in complete turmoil. 

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the Niti Ayog's revised GDP numbers were "a joke, bad joke and worse than a bad joke'. The numbers are the result of a hatchet job. Now that the Niti Ayog has done the hatchet job it is time to wind up the utterly worthless body". 

Jaitley said the GDP growth rate in the last two years--FY 12-13 and FY 13-14-- of the UPA government, was welcomed by the people in the then government.

"In fact they said that the new GDP series has conclusively re-established that we did not mismanage the economy.

"Now in continuation of the same exercise applying the the same yardstick, the new series has been made applicable from FY 2004 or 05. So, the growth on the basis of the new series may be revised either upward or downward, depending on the applicability of the data," he said.

The Finance Minister said that the formula was the same. So while comparing it, the "yardstick" has to be the same.

The government on Wednesday released the much-awaited back-series estimates for India's GDP which showed a lower rate of growth during the UPA years between 2005-06 and 2011-12 than what was estimated using the earlier methodology.

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