‘Influenced by politics’: Economists slam India for tweaking data

PM Modi is vulnerable over his economic record in the national election starting on April 11 [Jitendra Prakash/Reuters]
PM Modi is vulnerable over his economic record in the national election starting on April 11 [Jitendra Prakash/Reuters]

A group of more than 100 experts have sounded a pre-election alarm over Indian economic data, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government of tweaking or burying unwelcoming numbers.

Modi is vulnerable over his economic record in the polls starting on April 11, in particular over a failure to meet promises to create enough jobs for the million Indians entering the labour market each month.

The warning comes after India‘s central bank chief quit in December following a spat over alleged government interference. His successor, a Modi ally, oversaw an economy-boosting cut in interest rates last month in his first monetary policy meeting.

The 108 economists and social scientists said in an open letter on Friday that Indian statistics were “under a cloud for being influenced and indeed even controlled by political considerations”.

“[Any] statistics that cast an iota of doubt on the achievement of the government seem to get revised or suppressed on the basis of some questionable ideology,” they said.

The opposition Congress party of Rahul Gandhi, who has called Modi’s record on employment a “national disaster”, jumped on the letter.

“How much more can this govt. embarrass us on a global level?,” the party said on its official Twitter account.

Economists in fellow emerging Asian giant China and abroad have long suspected that data there…

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