oppn parties Economic Data Should Not Be Window Dressed

News Snippets

  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
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.