Niti Aayog VC accepts Chidambaram’s challenge for debate on revised GDP

New Delhi: Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Friday accepted former finance minister P Chidambaram’s challenge for a debate on revised Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data.

Chidambaram on Thursday termed the revised GDP data series published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) as a “bad joke” and challenged Kumar for a debate.

Speaking to the media, the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman said, “Please request him to take up the challenge. This work is done by most competent people in Central Statistics Office whose work has always been accepted.”

On Thursday, he also tweeted, “Hon. @PChidambaram_IN Ji, challenge accepted. Let’s discuss and dissect back series data. I gave three hours of the detailed interview yesterday and it is somewhat disingenuous of you to say that I asked the media to not ask questions. Do give more coherent reasons for your difficulty with new data.”

Soon after the data were released, Chidambaram, in a series of tweets, cornered the CSO and NITI Aayog, saying the numbers released were “the result of a hatchet job.”

“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 tweeted.

The CSO on Wednesday had released the back series of GDP/GVA for period 2004-05 to 2011-12 with base 2011-12 prices. NITI Aayog Vice Chairman had said that the think tank had organized two Round Tables in which domain experts participated to ensure the quality of coverage and methodology in tabulating data.