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Chidambaram calls Niti Aayog worthless, demands to disband it as govt slashes UPA-era growth rate

Former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government and termed ‘Niti Aayog’ as ‘worthless body’ as the Centre on Wenesday slashes UPA-era growth rate.

The government lowered the country’s economic growth rate during the previous Congress-led UPA regime, shaving off over 1 percentage point from the only year when India posted double-digit GDP growth post liberalisation and from each of the three years with 9-plus percent expansion.

“Niti Aayog’s revised GDP numbers are a joke. They are a bad joke. Actually, they are worse than a bad joke. The numbers are the result of a hatchet job. Now that Niti Aayog has done the hatchet job, it is time to wind up the utterly worthless body,” said Chidambaram in a series of tweets.

“Former Chief Statistician Pranab Sen is absolutely correct. Niti Aayog has nothing to do with tabulation of data. I wonder if Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar will agree to a debate the data than telling journalists that their questions are ‘undeserving of an answer’,” Chidambaram added.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala termed the step a “classic” case where “the operation is successful but the patient is dead”.

“The entire GDP back series data released today reflects the desperate attempt of a defeatist Modi Government to undermine India’s growth story over last 15 years. Modi Government and its puppet Niti Aayog want the people to believe that 2+2=8.

“Such is the gimmickry, jugglery, trickery and chicanery being sold as ‘back series data’,” he said in a statement.

In January 2015, the government moved to a new base year of 2011-12 from the earlier 2004-05 for national accounts. The base year of national accounts had been revised earlier in January 2010.

Recalibrating data of past years using 2011-12 as the base year instead of 2004-05, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimated that India’s GDP grew by 8.5%in the financial year 2010-11 (April 2010 to March 2011) and not at 10.3% as previously estimated.

Similarly, 9.3%growth rate each in 2005-06 and 2006-07 was lowered to 7.9%and 8.1%respectively, while 7.7%rate was now estimated for 2007-08 instead of 9.8%.

The revised growth numbers have been released ahead of the 2019 general elections.

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