Panel calls for inquiry into errors in govt data

Directive comes after revision of spate of figures

Written by Surabhi | New Delhi | Published: April 28, 2012 12:46 am

Concerned over consistent errors in data released by the government,a Parliamentary panel has called for an urgent inquiry into the issue.

“The committee would like an independent inquiry to be conducted in data errors of such magnitude and the report made available to the committee within three months,” the Parliamentary Standing Committee on finance has said in a report.

The directive comes after a spate of macro-economic figures that were announced in recent months witnessed major revisions.

The credibility of data on industrial output continues to be questioned,even after the government revised and updated index of industrial production last year. The IIP data for January 2012 which was revised from 6.8 per cent to 1.1 per cent due to incorrect reporting by the directorate of sugar.

Trade data was also revised downwards by as much as $8 billion for the period between April and October 2011,after the commerce ministry admitted to overstating export figures.

Pointing to the faulty IIP and trade figures,the Parliamentary panel has also questioned the reliability of the data offered by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI).

“The Committee are seriously concerned at this flaw which projects not only the government but the entire country in a poor light.”

Taking cognisance of the yo-yoing industrial data,the government has recently set up a committee under Plan panel member Saumitra Chaudhuri to revise the IIP.

The panel headed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha has pulled up the MOSPI for poor quality of data collection and dissemination. “Steps have been taken from time to time to improve the collection of vital economic statistics in the country. However,the committee is constrained to note that even today this leaves much to be desired,” the

report said.

The RBI had complained last year that such glitches lead to inefficient decision making. RBI Governor D Subbarao had referred to the GDP at market price for 2009-10,which was revised upwards in each of the three estimates.

In February 2010,quick estimates,pegged GDP at market price for 2009-10 at 6.8 per cent,the revised estimates in May put it at 7.7 per cent,while in January 2011,the quick estimates recorded 9.1 per cent growth.

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