Fears about exports being shown on the higher side have come true with the government conceding on Friday that it goofed up as the numbers got inflated by $9 billion in the April-November period of the current fiscal.
"Every damn number for the last eight months has been revised...," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said, conceding the crucial balance of trade deficit was also kept undervalued at $107 billion instead of $117 billion.
There were not only mis-classifications but also "error in double counting and all sorts of things" due to problems in the computer software which was recently upgraded, he said.
Having admitted mistakes, Khullar said that at least now "the notion that the government is deliberately cooking up and telling lies...has got to stop. How many people will come and tell you that we have goofed up; there was a mistake. I have said it openly there is nothing to hide; there is no shame in admitting that there is something wrong".
However, he said that even after factoring in mistakes, the exports grew by 33.2 per cent between April-November.
The data goof-up was 4-5 per cent of the export billing and on an average it was inflated by $1 billion a month, Khullar said.
There were doubts on huge growth in exports which was even shown at 82 per cent in July at a time when the manufacturing was going down.
"Exports are still doing pretty damn well. (Earlier) you thought it (growth) would be 40-45 per cent, now it is down to 33 per cent (during April-November this fiscal)," he said.
For the eight month period, total exports have been calculated at USD 192.7 billion, while imports at USD 309.5 billion (growth of 30.2 per cent).