Criticism of growth and poverty data valid, says Vice President Hamid Ansari

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Vice President Hamid Ansari on Friday warned of pitfalls due to false data or its wrong interpretation adding that this could have a cascading effect on the economy.

Ansari said that there was some legitimacy to some of the criticism about India’s official statistics on growth, poverty and unemployment. This, The Hindu quoted him as saying, was not just undermining the credibility of Indian data globally, but also hurting the analysis of important elements of the economy.

Hamid Ansari
Hamid Ansari

Speaking at a seminar on ‘social statistics’ organised by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) in Patna, the VP said, “Despite this, the problems with our official statistics appear to persist. Some of the criticism of Indian public statistics, especially when it comes to measurement of crosscutting social issues such as gender disparity, inequality, poverty and growth seems valid.”

The Vice President’s comments came little over a fortnight after India’s chief statistician, TCA Ananth, said that the country’s economic data were “imperfect.”

“In spite of all these improvements, GDP computation in India is principally constrained with the availability of data,” Anant shad aid.

Ansari also made a reference to French economist Thomas Piketty’s lamentation about the paucity of income tax data and the reluctance of the government to release the caste census results.The vice president pointed out to instances where top officials have also questioned the data.

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