about 1 year ago
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Fake people. Fake news. Fake smile. Fake world. Fake promises.

That’s the world we live in today and added to this growing fake world is fake data or to put it more softly, for all those who cannot take criticism, data which is untrustworthy.

When the genuineness of statistical economic data comes under a cloud, surely we need to worry. The macro data published by the Govt is the one on which all policy decisions are based but if that itself is not true, how can the policy decisions be correct?  If numbers get doctored or manufactured, what is the point itself of these data? For gloating over “achievements?”

The GDP numbers have become one big hotchpotch. The “new series” and then the back series” of the same GDP, have made a mockery of the numbers. And jobs are growing as per EPFO statistics?

A simple question - If GDP during the NDA years is averaging around 7.7% over the last five years, why did it give the kind of stimulus it did in the Budget?

And the unemployment data? The NSSO data puts unemployment at a 45-year high at 6.1%  in 2017-18. This report was based on data collected by the NSSO between July 2017 and June 2018. Actually, this is the first official employment survey after demonetization.

Take a look at the other data in the report:

  • Joblessness for rural male youth (aged 15-29) went up from 5% in 2011-12 to 17.4% in 2017-18.
  • For rural women in the same age group, joblessness went from 4.8% in 2011-12 to 13.6% in 2017-18.
  • Educated rural females, the unemployment rate ranged from 9.7% to 15.2% during 2004-05 to 2011-12 which rose to 17.3% in 2017-18.
  • The labour force participation rate (LFPR) which indicates the number of people of working age actively seeking jobs decreased from 39.5% in 2011-12 to 36.9% in 2017-18.

Why do these numbers need Govt approval before getting published? From when did this trend begin?

In fact National Statistical Commission (NSC) Chairman PC Mohanan, resigned last week apparently because the report was not released. He stated very firmly that this was the ‘final report’ and did not need any further approval.

But the NITI Aayog, which frankly does not command much respect in the economic circles, said that the NSSO Report was at a draft stage and not comparable.  The NITI Aayog is totally politicized and seems overzealous to show that there has been so much job creation, contrary to what the NSC and NSSO figures show.

There are so many resignations of top notch economists from some of the most respected Govt statistics providers. Isn’t that in itself a cause for worry?

Really, the mistrust over data is so high – how do we believe the fiscal deficit figures? When so much can be white washed, what is the credibility of any data coming from the Govt?

One never expected this kind of data fudging in India; we used to guffaw over Chinese data; now it’s our turn to get ridiculed?

It’s a pity that all the respected national statistical organizations – NSC, NSSO and CSO today seem to be in the firm grip of political suppression of financial data.

We keep on harping about the great demographic advantage India enjoys but if this energy and intellect of the youth is not being harnessed, we could have a disaster on hand. Paul Krugman is absolutely right – if India does not create manufacturing jobs soon, our growth story could go phut!

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