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Congress party vows to ‘clean up’ economic data gathering if wins election


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NEW DELHI (Reuters): India’s main opposition Congress party will review how economic data is collected and interpreted if it wins a general election this month, a senior party official said, amid doubts over the reliability of official data.

Economists and investors are increasingly showing that they have little or no confidence in India’s official economic data – presenting whoever is elected as the next prime minister with an immediate problem.

P. Chidambaram, a former finance minister and senior party leader, said a Congress government would tackle the deficiencies in data collection.

“We would have to set up a high-powered committee. First, to look at what went wrong with the data, and to clean up the data collecting and data interpreting process,” he told Reuters on the weekend.

There have been questions for many years about whether government statistics were telling the full story but two recent controversies over revisions and delays of crucial numbers have taken those concerns to new heights.

Up to 36% of companies in the database used in GDP calculations could not be traced or were wrongly classified, according to a statistics ministry study released this month for the 12 months to June 2017.

But the ministry said there was no impact on GDP estimates as due care was taken to adjust corporate filings at the aggregate level.

 


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