oppn parties Economic Data Should Not Be Window Dressed

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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Economic Data Should Not Be Window Dressed

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
It needs to be recognized that modern economy – in fact, even society – is increasingly being driven by data. Hence, it is imperative that data collection, analysis and presentation are robust, timely and credible. Since the Indian economy is in the top six in the world and growing at a good rate, both domestic and international investors look to invest here and their decisions are largely based on sectoral data and related policy decisions of the government. The government also takes policy decisions based on economic data.

Hence, frequent tinkering with back data confuses economists and investors and is not good for generating inflow of funds in the economy or for formulating policy. The NDA government has shifted the base year for calculations from 2004-05 to 2011-12. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong in this as it brings data closer to current prices given that inflation skews the figures over time, the effects have triggered a political row. The new set of back data show that the growth rate during the first four years of UPA I & II was 6.7%, much lower than the earlier figure of 8.1% (with 2004-05 as base) and lower than the 7.4% achieved under NDA in the last four years (with 2011-12 as base).

Periodic updating of the base year is necessary and is done in all economies across the globe. It is not as if the UPA growth rate has been rubbished by the new set of data. Those who understand economics, statistics and data will always talk about growth rates as per the base year from which they are calculated. Hence, there is no need for political squabbling. But it also needs to be stressed that frequent tinkering with data, window dressing figures and presenting them in slanted way is not proper and should be avoided at all costs.