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India not politically fixing GDP numbers: Arvind Subramanian

Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has said India is not politically fixing economic numbers by any means like China. “I do firmly believe that India is not China, we are not politically fixing (GDP) numbers by any means,” Subramanian today said at an event here.

“But I do think, we need to make sure that quality of data is updated. So that people have confidence in our GDP data,” he added. The CEA’s statement assumes significance as experts and economists have raised doubts on India’s 2016-17 growth forecast of 7.1 per cent despite the impact of demonetisation in the third quarter of the fiscal.

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), India’s economy expanded by 7 percent in the third quarter of last financial year, belying fears that note ban would have severely impacted economic activity. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) had also retained the growth projection for the 2016-17 at 7.1 per cent.

The Chief Economic Adviser said, “There is something to lament the fact that our data collection, measurement etc are not what country like India’s status and aspiration should have. And we are to blame for this,” Subramanian said. He also stressed that all estimates should come out with an error estimate. Noting that the last poverty measure was done in 2011-12 and the next one is going to be probably come out in early 2019, the CEA said, “So there is going is to be lag of 6-8 years, when we will know what is happening to poverty.”

Subramanian also said that soon we are going to have annual urban employment survey data. Observing that there is gradual decline in economical and statistical talent, he said that government should provide more incentives to academia. Data play an important role in policy making, he noted.