New GDP math punctures Congress’ claim of better economic growth rate, growth 8.5% not 10.3% in 2010-11

This could now stoke a political slugfest, especially because the Sudipto Mundle panel, whose rosier estimates of the UPA-era growth has now been junked by the current government

According to the revised GDP numbers released by the government on Wednesday, India’s economic growth under the previous Congress-led coalition government was slower than estimated earlier and was never in double digits.

The Central statistical office re-calibrated the data to establish a better picture of the economy and thus lowered the GDP growth rates for a majority of the previous 10 years of the UPA regime.

According to the back-series data, by the NITI Aayog and the government’s statistical office, the Indian economy grew at an average of 6.67 per cent in the nine years ended March 31, 2014, when UPA was in power, slower than the 7.35 per cent achieved in the four years ended March 31, 2018, with Modi as the prime minister.

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It also shows that the highest growth rate the Indian economy has so far achieved is 8.5 per cent in 2010-11, against the 10.3 per cent which the Congress claimed using the older base.

As per the new series of data:

  • 2008-09 GDP growth stood at 3.1 per cent (old series estimate-3.9 per cent)
  • 2009-10, the GDP growth was 7.9 per cent (old series estimate 8.5 per cent)
  • 2010-11, the GDP growth rate was 8.5 per cent (old series estimate 10.3 per cent)

The new data series issued would now puncture the Congress’ claims who has been using the data to defend its track record and management of the economy during its 10-year tenure, in contrast with the performance of NDAs’ four years in office.

This could now stoke a political slugfest, especially because the Sudipto Mundle panel, whose rosier estimates of the UPA-era growth has now been junked by the current government.

Congress all this while has been repeatedly raising the issue of “mismanagement of the economy” and has been keen on using this point as its trump card in the campaign leading up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

One can now understand why former finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram, who himself is amidst a number of scams and allegations, rubbished the revised GDP numbers released by the Niti Aayog calling it a ‘joke’. He was then confronted by the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman who called his critique ‘disingenuous’.

The new numbers, now, seem to clear that the effects of the measures taken by the then-UPA government to tackle the crisis were exaggerated.


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