16 January, 2021

What's The Real Story?

Poll-eve, the government releases data that says GDP grew 7.5 per cent last year. Can we believe it?

What's The Real Story?
"There are significant areas of weakness.... The most worrisome is the decline in growth of agricultural crop production to 0.9 per cent in 1995-96." P. Chidambaram's budget speech 1996-97. Exactly a year later, even the "provisional" estimates put 1995-96 farm growth at a negative 3.4 per cent.

INDIA'S gross domestic product (GDP) clocked in a high growth of 7.5 per cent in 1996-97. So says the latest National Accounts Statistics released unusually quietly on February 7. These are the 'quick' estimates, or the first-flush data with the government, what we writers call back-of-the-envelope calculations. The only other times India achieved such growth rates were twice in the '80s, and once in the '70s. Last year's Asian-Tiger-like growth was achieved despite many scary forecasts both the government and the premier research organisation NCAER had expected GDP to grow around 6.5 per cent. 1996-97, after all, had been a dull year with the new government coming in only in July!

Pinch of salt? Seek and ye shall not find. That seems to be the motto of the Central Statistical...



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