Comments sought on GDP back-series report

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New Delhi : The National Statistical Commission (NSC) has invited comments on the GDP Back Series 2011 report that credited UPA regime with the fastest economic growth leading to a political slugfest between the Congress and BJP.

"The reports of these committees are hereby placed in the public domain to facilitate wider public consultation. The NSC welcomes comments and suggestions on the reports by September 30," the Commission said in a statement.

The GDP backseries report by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics, released last week, was one of the five reports by as many committees constituted by NSC in 2016 to examine potential improvement in methodology and database in GDP estimation.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has revised the base years of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) to 2011-12 and for the Consumer Price Index (CPI), or retail inflation, to 2012.

According to the backseries data on Gross Domestic Product, the Indian economy clocked a 10.08 per cent growth rate in 2006-07 under UPA regime led by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the highest since liberalisation of the economy in 1991.

While Congress leaders highlighted the panel's backseries report on economic growth as a reflection of its superior economic policies, the government said it is a draft report and will only be accepted as an official document after a wider consultation.

"The estimates in the report are not official estimates and are meant only to facilitate a decision on the appropriate approach," MoSPI said in a statement last week.

"The Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics will be deliberating on the backseries estimates before finalising the same for continuity, consistency and reliability," the ministry said.

Last Sunday, the NSC also said the methodology for back-casting of GDP series is a "work in progress" and yet to be finalised.

"The methodology, as also the series using the methodology, will be worked out using the suggestions made by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics and other suggestions that emanate during the consultancy process," the NSC said.

Reacting to the claims by Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had pointed in a Facebook post that the global factors helped a high rate of growth during the period in question.

"However, when this honeymoon ended, growth started slipping down and to ensure that growth is maintained, two significant steps were taken. Firstly, fiscal discipline was compromised and the banking system was advised to go in for reckless lending, notwithstanding the fact that it would eventually put the banks at a risk," he said.