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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said there was need to ensure credibility in government data, while adding that the government holds back data only in cases of issues in reports from surveys on the ground.

“We need to assure people who need the data and lots of people need the data... Even the government needs its own data. But the fact is when sometimes something genuine has gone wrong in the ground, and therefore, survey results have been held back," she said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2019 in New Delhi.

The government is fairly seized of the ongoing debate about data and its credibility, the minister added.

Sitharaman’s comments follow a leaked National Statistics Office report on consumer spending, published in newspaper Business Standard, which was debunked by the government.

Watch video: #HTLS2019: ‘Need to bring back credibility into data’: Nirmala Sitharaman


According to the Business Standard report, the average monthly spending by an individual fell to 1,446 in 2017-18 from 1,501 in 2011-12, down 3.7%.

“The intention is to make sure that any kind of inappropriate methodology, which has come into the data will have to be addressed. But that is not to deny data is something which all of us so take as position," the minister said.

In another instance, in November, the ministry of statistics and program implementation (MOSPI) decided not to release the 75th round of the Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017-18, citing discrepancies and divergence from other administrative data.

The ministry had also said the advisory committee on National Accounts Statistics rejected a proposal to shift the gross domestic product, or GDP, base year to 2017-18 from 2011-12, as the proposed year was not “appropriate".

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