Congress uses revised GDP data to defend UPA’s economic record

NITI Aayog Vice-president Rajiv Kumar

NITI Aayog Vice-president Rajiv Kumar

He said that there was a determined effort by the present BJP-led government to run down the record of the Manmohan Singh government through distortions. "We know it cannot match the average growth rate of UPA-1, but we hope it can catch up with the average growth rate of UPA-2".

"Unfortunately, after the first two years, the government stumbled and the momentum was lost. The main reasons were demonetisation, flawed implementation of Goods and Services Tax and tax terrorism", he added.

This, Kumar added, is reflected in the Sudipto Mundle committee's estimates on the back series as well - 7.05 percent in 2011-2012, 5.42 percent in 2012-2013, and 6.05 percent in 2013-2014. "Now, when the data has come, it proves the dictum that truth can not be suppressed forever", he said.

Chidamabaram said the report which, compares growth rates between old series (2004-'05) and new series based on 2011-'12 prices, shows that the average growth rate under the UPA-1 government was 8.87%.

"You will recall that the Congress had repeatedly pointed out that, when the base year was changed, the government should follow the healthy global practice and revise the numbers for the previous years", Chidambaram told reporters, adding that there was a "determined effort to run down" the UPA's ten-year track record. "We had demanded that the back series data of GVA (gross value added) and GDP should be calculated and released so that meaningful comparisons can be made. It is also a matter of record that during this period, 140 million people were lifted out of poverty", he said.

The report also revealed that gross domestic product (GDP) at constant market prices surged to 10.23 per cent in the following year, 2007-08.

Meanwhile, Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Adviser to the finance ministry, said the suggested back series shows that growth had already accelerated to over 8 per cent in 2003-04, following a series of important reforms under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The former finance minister said that in 2006-'07, the UPA administration achieved a double digit growth rate of 10.08% and managed a 7.39% during its second tenure. "Besides, the fiscal deficit had been reduced to 4.48 per cent and the current account deficit had been contained at 1.7 per cent".

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During Narendra Modi's regime, the country has transformed from the Fragile Five economies to fabulous few investment destinations, Patra said.

He said NSC sub-committee's estimates of GDP growth series with the 2011-12 base are yet unofficial. Even in 2013-14 it was 31.3 per cent.

"... Post 2014, when the global economy was in slowdown mode, it was India and India alone which has been the fastest growing economy in the world for the last four years and has consistently overtaken China in the growth rate", Jaitley wrote.

NITI Aayog today attributed the high growth achieved during the UPA government to the untenable fiscal deficit and reckless expansion of bank credit that led to the dramatic economic collapse.

"Yet another reason is sluggish credit growth. Rupee's exchange rate went into a free fall during May-August 2013, declining nearly 25 per cent in 4 months", he tweeted.

Moreover, strong foundations have been laid out during the past four years for sustained high and inclusionary growth in the future, Kumar said.

Chidambaram said the Congress was a passionate advocate of high growth with equity and social justice.

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