Disturbing trends

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/31/2019 12:10:40 PM IST

 It is unheard of and rather unthinkable but true, that a government is manipulating data methodology to its advantage and if it cannot manipulate, then it will ensure that uncomfortable data is not made available. The data methodology wherein the government has manipulated GDP data of previous years was a desperate attempt to undermine India’s growth for the past one and half decades (NDA-I and UPA I & II). The government lowered the country’s economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA regime, shaving off over one percentage point from the only year when India posted double-digit GDP growth post liberalisation and from each of the three years with 9-plus per cent expansion. The NDA-II government under Modi has been accused of surreptitiously changing the methodology in order to manipulate GDP data. Some even described this methodology as “Excel Sheet Management” where the results are first decided and then the marks are filled in later to supplement the desired result. This methodology is also Gross Value Added(GVA)based but takes no account of tax and subsidies and consequently, flawed to sub serve the myopic interests of the government. The logic is one has to go down for the other to come up. Interestingly, Niti Aayog had released the back series of GDP using the new methodology adopted by the government-friendly Central Statistical Office (CSO) in 2015. The revised data is so transparently laughable that it has already attracted accusations of data manipulation by independent experts. The new methodology incorporated more data on corporate activity while spending patterns of households and the informal economy were captured by more recent surveys. The results revealed that in 2013-14, GDP growth under the old methodology was 4.7 per cent. Under the new methodology, GDP growth shot up to 6.9 per cent (later revised down to 6.4 per cent). However, when the data was released by National Statistical Commission (NSC), it showed that the growth under UPA was around 10%. The CSO-released data shows that growth under the UPA was lower than what was presented by the NSC committee as well as that under the old methodology. This is the latest example of the Modi government’s disdain for India’s institutions and the government’s penchant to put party interests over the national interest. Any future government has to take set up an independent institution of commission of experts having no political colour to carefully examine the GDP back series to bring back credibility to India’s economic data and restore trust in our policymaking. The present government is one of the most offensive and having scant regard to the memory of past leaders by belittling their contributions to the nation. Among the most unbelievable and insulting accusations made was the narrative that nothing happened in India in 70 years of India’s history after independence, till Narendra Modi came along. This is patently false and harmful to the nation. The government has spent around Rs.5000 crore of tax payer’s money on propaganda advertisements till 2018 as per RTI reply. The achievements so claimed are contestable, be it roads, welfare schemes or economy. However, the achievement in spreading communal hatred, branding and labelling cannot be challenged.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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