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India Delayed Data Dissemination in Every Category in 2018: IMF Report

In some categories where the standards require quarterly release, India has delayed putting up data by more than four months.  

New Delhi: An annual report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has pointed out that India delayed the release of data in several categories during the calendar year of 2018.

The IMF’s Annual Observance Report of the Special Data Dissemination Standard for 2018 has found that India fell short of adhering to the time limits prescribed by the IMF in all data categories. 

For various data points, the IMF standards require weekly, monthly or quarterly dissemination. India has underwhelmed in every category for at least one relevant time period. 

For instance, the government delayed the release of price index data based on consumer prices for the months of April, May and June of 2018, according to the IMF. In the subsequent months, the delay stretched to as many as 72 days. 

In some categories where the standards require quarterly release, India has delayed putting up data by more than four months.  

The other countries comprising the BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa – performed well and maintained a near perfect record for the calendar year of 2018. 

This is India’s worst ever performance in meeting the standards, according to The Hindu’s analysis. In 2006, the maximum delay in release of data had been 60 days. In 2016 and 2017, the maximum delays were 32 and 43 days respectively. But in 2018 the maximum delay was 120 days.

The department of economic affairs has blamed ‘technical glitches’ for the delays. “In 2018, various changes were carried out for the improvement of the website of Ministry of Finance which hosts the National Summary Data Page (NSDP) web page. In this process, due to some technical glitches related to the Ministry’s website, data in the NSDP was not recorded in the Special Data Dissemination Standard portal of IMF in 2018 despite the fact that it was updated regularly,” deputy director in the Department of Economic Affairs Aakanksha Arora told The Hindu. 

In the recent past, the government has held back unemployment data which was released through a leaked report by the Business Standard in May 2019. It showed that unemployment in the country had touched a 45-year high. 

The government is has also held back data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) since 2016. This data includes numbers on farmer suicides.