131 accountants from India just responded to the open letter from economists and social scientists challenging official GDP data


  • A few days ago 108 economists and social scientists penned an open letter expressing their anguish over the Modi administration’s “political interference” with respect to economic data and statistical institutions like the CSO and NSSO.
  • And now, 131 Indian chartered accountants (CA) have responded with a stinging rebuke to the letter’s signatories, questioning their motivations.
  • In the reply, which was viewed by Business Insider India, the CAs took issue with the “general bunch of allegations” made by the economists, given that changing the base year for GDP data is a common practice.
A few days ago, 108 economists and social scientists penned an open letter expressing their anguish over the Modi administration’s “political interference” with respect to economic data and statistical institutions like the CSO and NSSO.

And now, 131 Indian chartered accountants (CA) have responded with a stinging rebuke to the letter’s signatories, terming it a “politically motivated attempt to discredit the government”.

In the reply, which was viewed by Business Insider India, the CAs took issue with the “general bunch of allegations” made by the economists, given that changing the base year for GDP data is a common practice.

The CAs that signed the letter include ABL Srivastava, the former head of the state-owned NHPC, Anand Rathi, the chief managing director of the Anand Rathi Group, Anil Bhandari, a member of the governing council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Ajay Bahl, the founder of AZB Associates.

The letter claims that the decision to change the base year from 2004-05 to 2011-12, a move that eventually lead to downward revision of GDP growth during the UPA’s tenure, was actually approved by the UPA itself, and implemented by the Modi government. It is unclear how the CAs were privy to the said approval of the revised GDP data by the previous government.

However, the CAs noted the methodology follows the United Nations’ 2008 national accounting guidelines.

The CAs posit the credibility of the Indian government’s data by explaining that international agencies like the IMF and World Bank routinely use the figures. The letter also said that “disputing government data is routine for experts around the world.”

Further still, the letter questioned the motives of the signatories. “A political tendency is being developed to disown institutions” the letter said.


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108 economists and academics just asked the Indian government to stop interfering with economic data
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