Chartered accountants bust anti-Modi campaign over data

Chartered accountants who challenged the economists said the latter had themselves fiddled with data to arrive at their convenient conclusion


New Delhi: As many as 131 chartered accountants came together on Monday to throw a challenge at a report prepared by a group of 108 economists, NGO activists and social ‘scientists’ who had alleged that the Narendra Modi government has messed up official statistics of India.

Tweeting with the hashtag #CAsForNation, these chartered accountants explained how “Our systems of data collation, data management, data analysis and data dissemination were old and archaic. This govt attempted to correct all these ills and provide a true and fair view of the status of the economy.”

They questioned why these ‘eminent economists’ never questioned earlier governments. “They are raising doubts just before the elections,” one of them remarked and added if it was okay for the economists of yesteryears “terming the Nehru rate of growth as the Hindu rate”.

One of the Twitter campaigners wrote, “Direct Tax and Indirect Tax Collection Doubled in 5 years. Market Cap increased by 40%. So Engineers & Doctors Of Finance CA’s hail INDIAN ECONOMY,” with the photograph of the event of assembly of the chartered accountants where the allegation of data jugglery was challenged.

Those who had protested the alleged mishandling of statistics by the Modi government included Abhijit Banerjee (MIT), Pranab Bardhan (University of California), Jean Dreze (a brain behind MGNREGA of UPA government), James Boyce (historian), Jayati Ghosh (economist at JNU), Amartya Lahiri (University of British Columbia), Sudha Narayanan (agriculture economist at IGIDR), Ashima Sood (management teacher at ISB), Jayan Jose Thomas (IIT Delhi) and Vamsi Vakulabharanam (University of Massachusetts) among others.

Those who challenged the group above claimed that these economists had themselves picked data selectively to arrive at their convenient conclusion.

Other than chartered accountants, several economists on the other side of the political divide and many industry heads joined the protest.

They said, “Disputing government data is routine for experts around the world. However, it is unusual for a particular set to come together to discredit all data and long-standing institutions of eminence. The appeal seems even more devious as the data in respect of GDP, poverty alleviation, ease of doing business are being duly published even by international agencies including World Bank, IMF and many others. The international data and independent agencies have clearly confirmed the data being published by government agencies.”

The full document of protest: