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Puzzling why GDP rate is questioned: Jayant

With questions being raised over India’s economic growth data, the government has defended the 7.6 per cent GDP number put out by the statistics department, calling it a professional organisation with high integrity.

Puzzling why GDP rate is questioned: Jayant
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha

New Delhi

Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha cited IMF chief Christine Lagarde’s ‘complete faith’ in the numbers put out by Central Statistics Office (CSO) and said it is ‘puzzling’ why people are questioning CSO’s motive. 

While CSO has estimated that India’s GDP grew at 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, retaining the tag of world’s fastest-growing major economy for the second year in a row, the data has been questioned by some experts who have pointed to large ‘discrepancies’ totalling Rs 2.15 lakh crore between GDP estimates based on production and expenditure. 

They also doubt the surge in manufacturing, highlighting the contrast with other indicators, including official industrial production data and a private purchasing managers’ index. 

“CSO is an outstanding professional institution. It is completely independent of the government. It is doing the best it can to collect and process GDP and other economic data,” Sinha said. 

Stating that improving the accuracy and validity of data was an ongoing process, he said, “The government thinks CSO was doing a fine job and in any developing country it is hard to get 100 per cent accuracy. But given the constraints, given our informal nature of economy, we think they have done an outstanding job.” 

Sinha hit back at critics for attaching motives to CSO data. “We may question their data, we may question their analysis. Certainly there is no basis for questioning their motives,” he said.

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