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No political motive behind the move: Rajiv Kumar, Niti Aayog

There are some key lessons from the GDP back-series data for the country, Niti Aayog vice chairperson Rajiv Kumar said.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Nov 29, 2018, 06.50 AM IST
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I do not see any political angle to it. This data was available some time back, but we wanted leading economists to vet it.
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The much-awaited GDP back series, released on Wednesday, may trigger a political battle, but the government denies any political motive behind the move. There are some key lessons from the GDP back-series data for the country, Niti Aayog vice chairperson Rajiv Kumar said in an interview to ET. Edited excerpts:

There is a section that feels the release of the GDP back series depicting lower growth during the UPA’s time is politically driven...
I do not see any political angle to it. We all have been waiting for this data for a very long time. This data was available some time back, but we wanted leading economists to vet it. We did two rounds of consultations with experts before releasing data.

What are the key takeaways or lessons learnt?
The myth that India is decoupled from global trends has been broken. The back-series data shows that the impact of the global crisis was much deeper than estimated. Going forward, India should focus its policies in line with global trends. The second big takeaway is that it’s much harder to break 8% growth rate ceiling. There was complete overestimation of tertiary sector growth. We need to push harder with structural reforms. Further, we have realised the need to invest more in improving our statistical data. It’s time we allocate budgetary resources to make our data modern and real-time to help in policy making.

Niti Aayog’s involvement has attracted some criticism. How did Niti come into the picture?
Back-series GDP data is a broader, macroeconomic issue and not entirely technical. Besides, Niti Aayog is also a principal user of statistics. Our job is data-based policy-making and we are constantly in touch with CSO (Central Statistics Office) for all data. We had conducted two rounds of consultation on the back-series GDP with leading economists and hence we thought this would be an appropriate platform to release this data.

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