Slamming the revision of GDP data as a "bad joke", the Congress on Thursday alleged that the NITI Aayog had done disservice to the nation with its "hatchet job" at the behest of the government and demanded that the body be disbanded.
The opposition party also hit out at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for defending the exercise, which it termed as a "brazen assault on the very sanctity of Indian statistics".
"Niti Aayog's revised GDP numbers are a joke. They are a bad joke. Actually they are worse than a bad joke. The numbers are the result of a hatchet job. Now that Niti Aayog has done the hatchet job, it is time to wind up the utterly worthless body," Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said.
Senior party leader and former Union minister Anand Sharma also lashed out at the planning body saying, "by fudging the GDP data to massage the ego of Prime Minister Modi and hide the miserable performance and mismanagement of the Indian economy, the Ministry of Statistics and Niti Aayog have done a disservice to the nation."
He said the integrity of Indian data has become suspect internationally and in one blow the credibility of Indian statistical institutions and experts who prepared the earlier GDP data has been severely damaged.
"Pathetic to see the Finance Minister defending the brazen assault on the very sanctity of Indian statistics" Mr Sharma said.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said "the venerable Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) has now been converted into a NAMO (Numbers Adjustment and Manipulation Organisation)", adding "Mahalanobis must be fuming" He was referring to PC Mahalanobis, revered as the father of Indian statistical research.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday defended the revision in India's GDP growth rate during the previous UPA era, saying it was done by a "highly credible" organisation, the Central Statistics Office, which maintains an arm's length distance from the finance ministry.
He said the revised numbers, based on a new formula with 2011-12 as the base year, are globally more comparable as they take into account a far greater representation of the Indian economy and are more reflective of its real state.
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