NEW DELHI, March 1 - The strong GDP data despite note ban blues was today met with scepticism by the Congress and the Left but the Government said it showed demonetisation did not hurt growth.
Congress dubbed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers as �highly suspect� and �questionable� while the CPI-M and the CPI alleged that the growth rate has been �inflated� and �faked�.
Seeking to prove wrong the prophets of doom post-note ban, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the latest GDP data showed demonetisation did not affect growth rate, rather the figure improved while Finance Minister asserted it belied exaggerated claims of the impact on rural economy.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the GDP data was �surprising� and �highly suspect� that could dent India�s global credibility and accused the prime minister and the finance minister of �misleading� the public.
Sharma said the GDP numbers released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) were �misleading� as these do not factor in the adverse impact of demonetisation, including losses in jobs and production.
�The GDP numbers that have been released are surprising and highly suspect. The GDP growth as projected is questionable and will also undermine the credibility of Indian data globally,� he told PTI.
Asking the prime minister and the finance minister not to �mislead� the public and address the real issues instead, the senior Congress leader said the government �propagandists� should refrain from �premature celebrations and misplaced euphoria�.
Making light of the government data, the CPI-M said it is like �faking nationalism�.
�It is like faking nationalism to faking data... If this growth rate is to be believed, then without the demonetisation disaster, what would have been the Q3 GDP growth rate? 25 per cent?,� said CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
CPI also raised doubts on the government data, calling it �inflated figure�
Taking on the critics of demonetisation, the prime minister mocked economists and said �hard work is more powerful than Harvard�.
�On the one hand are those (critics of note ban) who talk of what people at Harvard say and on the other hand is a poor man�s son who through his hard work is trying to improve the economy,� he said at an election meeting in Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh.
�In fact, hard work is much more powerful than Harvard� he said without elaborating.
His remarks come against the backdrop of Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen terming demonetisation as a �despotic action that has struck at the root of economy based on trust�.
The government had yesterday pegged GDP growth at a higher-than-expected 7.1 per cent for 2016-17 despite the cash blues, which was higher than China�s 6.8 per cent for Oct-Dec period of 2016, making India retain the tag of the world�s fastest growing economy.
Jaitley, who returned from his UK visit this morning said that with a 7 per cent growth in GDP the worst fears for the economy have been put behind. � PTI