Mumbai: India's GDP numbers are very dependable and there is no "rigging" taking place with regards to data, the World Bank's Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Kaushik Basu said on Saturday.
Basu, former Chief Economic Advisor, also said a small slippage in the government's fiscal deficit target would be fine in the current economic scenario.
"...actually, India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers are very dependable...You know, there are countries where it is possible to rig these numbers. First of all, that does not happen in India. The system is very open. I have seen this during my time period".
"Even now, there are lots of people involved (in the process). There is no one at the top who can say that change this number or change that number. So that kind of rigging is not taking place," he said, adding that the process is very transparent. "Given the transparency, you have reason to have enough confidence in the growth figures," he said.
Basu was responding to questions surrounding the GDP numbers being put out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). It has projected a growth rate of 7.6% for the current fiscal, the highest in the last five years.
There have been talks in certain quarters that the higher growth figures of CSO are not in tandem with what is visible on the ground. Some experts have attributed the higher numbers to change in methodology for calculating national income.
"My view on Indian GDP is, given the difficulties of measurement in developing countries, (in India it is) actually being done very well," he said in an interview to Karan Thapar on 'To The Point' programme on India Today TV.
To a question on deviating from the fiscal deficit target, Basu said in the backdrop of the global slowdown and the need to push growth, small fiscal slippages will be "fine".
"My view is in a situation like this, a small slippage is no huge fall and I think global observers will understand that it is coming from India's urge to keep its growth rate up." "...much more is at stake in India meeting its growth rate targets than a small slippage and I am stressing, a big slippage is going to cause concern but a small slippage, I think, will be fine," Basu said.
The comments are at variance with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan's views on the matter. Rajan had recently warned against generating economic growth through additional debt, saying that any deviation from the fiscal consolidation path will hurt the stability of the economy.
Rajan had said that macroeconomic stability during global turmoil cannot be risked and the government and RBI should continue to bring down inflation.