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‘The final word on back-series GDP data needs to come from technical experts’

PW Bureau

Subramanian made a veiled reference to Niti Aayog while saying that institutions that do not have technical expertise in calculating the GDP data should not be involved in the process New Delhi: Commenting on the back-series GDP data released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) last month, former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has asserted that there is a need to get experts to investigate the numbers to clear doubts and restore credibility. “As an economist, I think there are some puzzles (new back series GDP data), there are some issues that need to be explained. Since there are things that need to be explained, we should create confidence and eliminate any uncertainty or doubts, have experts who can investigate this thoroughly and give their answers,” Dr Subramanian said.

‘The task should best be left to technical experts’

When asked about the presence of Niti Aayog’s members at the release of the of the GDP back series data by the CSO last month, Subramanian made a veiled reference to Niti Aayog while saying that institutions that do not have technical expertise in calculating the GDP data should not be involved in the process. “I think this (calculation of GDP) is a very technical task and technical experts should do the task, institutions that don’t have technical expertise should not be involved in this,” he said. Recalibrating data of past years using 2011-12 as the base year instead of 2004-05, the CSO lowered the country’s economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA’s regime and upgraded the growth figures under the current regime. Asked whether he was consulted in the decision-making process on demonetisation, the former CEA said, “In the book, I said that this is not a kiss and tell memoir, that is for gossip columnists.”