BJP’s claim bogus, UPA-1 growth rate best ever: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Rubbishing the BJP’s claim of higher growth rate as “bogus” and concocted by the Niti Aayog, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday said economic growth during the UPA-1 tenure was the best India had ever seen.

“UPA-1 years (2004-09) were the best growth years since independence and in fact the best ever,” he said in a tweet days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley claimed that the Narendra Modi government had changed India’s image from a “fragile five” to “a bright spot in the global economy”.

The Congress leader charged the Modi government of utilizing the Niti Aayog to use the back-series estimates for India’s GDP to revise the growth rates of previous years to show the economy performed better during the NDA rule than during the UPA regime.

“The BJP’s claim of ‘highest growth rate’ under NDA is based on the bogus numbers produced by the Niti Aayog,” Chidambaram said and added in another tweet, “Those numbers have been rejected by every economist and statistician of repute.”

On November 28, the NITI Aayog and Central Statistics Office (CSO) released the back-series estimates for GDP, which showed a lower rate of growth during the UPA years between 2005-06 and 2011-12 than what was estimated using the earlier methodology.

However, the GDP Back Series 2011 report by the National Statistical Commission (NSC)-constituted Committee on Real Sector Statistics, released in August 2018, credited UPA regime with the fastest economic growth leading to a political slugfest with the BJP.

“The CSO numbers (on economic performance) that were published earlier and the NSC Committee on Real Sector Statistics numbers released in August are the only ones that have credibility,” Chidambaram added.