In his strong reaction to the alleged government interference in statistical data, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has dubbed the “108 purported economists” as a “fake campaign”, saying these compulsive contrarians have repeatedly signed memorandums of manufactured political issues against the present regime.
He was apparently referring to a appeal made by 108 economists and social scientists including Jean Dreze (Allahabad University), Emily Breza (Harvard University), Satish Deshpande (Delhi University), Esther Duflo (MIT, US) and Jayati Ghosh (JNU) last week, expressing concerns over “political interference” in influencing statistical data in India.
They had called for restoration of “institutional independence” and integrity to the statistical organisations in the backdrop of controversy over revision of gross domestic product (GDP) numbers and withholding employment data by the NSSO.
Rejecting the contention of economists, as many as 131 chartered accountants had stressed that India is poised to move on a higher growth trajectory and countered the concerns expressed by some economists and social scientists that economic statistics in the country are in shambles.
Highlighting the economic achievements of the Modi government, Jaitley in his ninth part of ‘Agenda 2019’ series of blogs said the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), which handles data management, always maintains an arm’s length distance from the government and functions professionally and independently.