Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar engaged in a war of words over the GDP base year issue as the Modi government plans to revise it from the current 2011-12 to 2017-18 or 2018-19. Commenting on a BusinessToday.In report, which quoted former chief statistician Pronab Sen as saying that Centre's choice of 2017-18 as the base year would not be ideal, Ramesh said it's a "terrible idea".
He said the Modi government wants to change the GDP base year only to make its second term look good after notebandi (demonetisation) and Goods and Services Tax. Questioning the Modi government over the poor economic condition, Ramesh indicated that the BJP government was trying to "fix" the GDP because it can't fix the economy.
"Govt wants 2017-18 as new GDP base year. Terrible idea! It was an abnormal year with notebandi and hasty GST. Is this only to make Modi Sarkar 2.0 look good on GDP growth rates? If you can't fix the economy, 'fix' the GDP? Base year should be 2018-19 instead," he said.
Govt wants 2017-18 as new GDP base year. Terrible idea! It was an abnormal year with notebandi & hasty GST. Is this only to make Modi Sarkar 2.0 look good on GDP growth rates? If you can't fix the economy, 'fix' the GDP? Base year should be 2018-19 insteadhttps://t.co/yBY9BjYs98— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) November 10, 2019
Kumar, however, clarified that the Centre government was yet to take a final decision on the matter. "You should know that chief statistician announced last week at a FICCI event that government is yet to decide on the choice of the base year. No need to spread such false news," the Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman said in a tweet.
The Centre plans to announce a new base year for GDP in the next few months to capture the changing economic scenarios in India and abroad. As per government officials, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) is working to introduce a new series of national accounts that requires changing the base year from 2011-12.
The GDP growth slowed down to a six-year low of 5 per cent in the June quarter of this fiscal. The recently released data on eight core industries for September also showed a 5.2 per cent decline in production.
However, skeptics say if the government changes the base year to 2017-18, it could see a downward revision in the GDP during prime minister Narendra Modi-led government's first tenure (2014-2019), especially in the post-demonetisation year. The low base during the Modi government's first tenure will make, at least statistically, the current 2019-2024 term growth look better.
Edited by Manoj Sharma