A day after the unprecedented downward correction in IIP (index of industrial production) growth for January from 6.8 per cent to 1.14 per cent, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherkee described the sharp revision in data as “totally baffling”.

Commenting on the error and the subsequent revision by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation while interacting with the media at a bank function here, Mr. Mukherjee said that he had already asked the authorities concerned to look into the matter and be careful in future as the integrity of government data should not come under question.

“I can understand if there is error in calculating 0.1 per cent of 0.2 per cent, but from 6.8 per cent to 1.1 per cent, it is totally baffling ... We shall have to ensure that government data, their integrity should not be challenged ... I have asked authorities concerned to look into why it has taken place. They should be much more careful in the future.”

Mr. Mukherjee was speaking to newspersons after laying the foundation for a new corporate office building of Punjab National Bank. The public sector bank has announced plan to open 1,111 ultra small branches in seven States in keeping with the government's programme on financial inclusion.

While releasing the IIP data for February 2012 on Thursday, the Ministry of Statistics owned up to wrong compilation of sugar production figures in January and following suitable correction on detection later, the industrial growth for the month stood revised sharply downwards.

Attributing the error to incorrect reporting of output figures by the Directorate of Sugar in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, chief statistician T. C. A. Anant had said: “Subsequent to the release [IIP data for January 2012], it has been detected ... that the sugar production was wrongly taken as 134.08 lakh tonnes in place of actual figure of 58.09 lakh tonnes.”

Subsequent to the correction along with minor update of data from other source agencies, not only does the January growth figure for industrial production stand sharply reduced but the cumulative growth for April-January 2011-12 is also pegged lower at 3.4 per cent against 4 per cent earlier.

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