Delhi Education Minister’s claim about Delhi Government schools performance vis-a-vis private Schools misleading!

On 28th May, 2017 the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) released the results of Class XII for the year 2017. Following this Delhi Education Minister claimed that Delhi government schools had done better than the Private schools. In his tweet, Sisodia claimed that pass percentage in Delhi government schools is 88.27%, while the figure in private schools is 79.27%.











In another tweet, Sisodia also claimed that the gap between Delhi government schools and private schools has jumped from 2% last year to 9% this year.










We fact checked his claims.

Claim #1 : Delhi govt schools get 88.27% results in Class 12. Pvt schools: 79.27%.

Fact-Check Report: Misleading. Sisodia quoted the national figure for private schools rather than Delhi’s private schools.

Explanation:  As per the press note released by CBSE, in 2017, the pass percentage for Delhi government schools is 88.36%. For Delhi private (Independent) schools, the pass percentage is 84.2%. The figure of 79.27% is the pass percentage of all-India private Schools and not of Delhi private schools. Hence, Sisodia’s claim is misleading.

Claim #2 : Last year Delhi govt schools had 2% better result than private schools, this year it is 9% better!

Fact-Check Report: False. Delhi government schools  did 4.16% better than Private schools this year and not 9%.

Explanation:  It is true that Delhi government schools had done 2% better than Delhi private schools last year. Pass percentage in 2016 for Delhi government schools was 88.98% and for Private schools it was 86.67%, giving the Delhi government schools a lead of 2.31% (approx 2%). While all-India private schools’ pass percentage for 2017 is 79.27%, it is 84.2% for its Delhi counterparts. Given Delhi government schools pass percentage of 88.36% it would mean a lead of 4% approximately and not 9% as claimed.

Pass percentage for Class XII :

The readers need to be reminded here that CBSE Board result is not a standardised parameter to measure year-on-year performance. There are multiple factors viz rigor of questions, number of appearing students, etc which affect the passing percentage. Hence, a year-on-year comparison of board results doesn’t factor in the real growth in student learning.

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More questions and concerns than satisfaction about the Government’s Third Quarter GDP Data

With the different stats contradicting each other, mysterious revisions and an engineering process of GDP estimate that raises questions about its accuracy, the CSO data does not really inspire the kind of jubilance that it sought.

Imagine you have Rs 100 in your wallet. On any normal day, you can spend it on tea, a metro ride, and a bottle of fruit juice: adding Rs 100 to the GDP of the country.

On a certain November 9, you open your wallet and suddenly find it has just Rs 14 left. Enough for just a cup of tea. When you buy that cup of tea, you add Rs.14 to the GDP – and as much as you may want to further add to it, you just can’t. ATMs are non-functional, banks have queues, and places which will accept payments through Paytm are seriously limited. And this situation keeps getting worse the further away you are from what we know as the urban India.

From November 9 to December 31, all Indians found themselves in this situation. Markets closed down, prices dropped, there was no one to buy, those who wanted to buy had no money to buy. Economists expected the GDP of the fastest growing economy in the world would see a huge hit in the October-December quarter.

On February 28, all eyes were on the government’s apex statistics body, the Central Statistics Office, which releases GDP estimates. Experts were dumbfounded as the CSO defied large scale predictions to peg the GDP growth in October-December at 7.0%, not too far off from 7.4% in a quarter ago.

Left with just 14% of its cash, struggling to understand digital transactions, and fumbling for new currency notes, India had managed to grow by 7.0%.

Breaking the data down:

With no money to spend consumption was expected to take a severe hit. But the CSO data showed that citizens and institutions spent 10.0% more during Oct-Dec (year-on-year) on goods and services, instead of cutting down on the expenditure. This was double of what it was in the previous quarter. Also, this number contradicts the expectations the economy had after seeing the third-quarter sales figures released by several retail giants and automobile firms.

With sales falling and inventories rising, there would not seem to be much motivation for increasing production. But here too CSO data shows a different picture. That of manufacturing sector actually growing at a decent 8.3%. How this came about could be anybody’s guess as the index for measuring the industrial production in the country- IIP had only grown by a sorry 0.2% in the October-December quarter.  Producers with no plans to produce, didn’t borrow from the banks, leading to Bank Credit to Industrial Sector falling by 4.3% in December.

With such contradictions one would be justifiably led on to think that the CSO data and all the other stats (and our lived experience during the quarter) are talking of two entirely different countries. So the question arises as to how did  the CSO arrive at the 7% figure.

Preliminary analysis gives us a few clues:

Firstly, CSO mysteriously revised the Q3 GDP of 2015-16 from 28.51 lakh Crore (as last stated in late May, 2016) to 28.31 lakh Crore, without any clarification. Why does this matter? Lowering the level compared to which we are measuring our growth, automatically makes the current level seem more impressive than it really is. Similarly the growth ratefor this quarter jumped from 6.2% (which would have been the case without the revision) to 7.1%.

Second, GDP figure is arrived at by adding the taxes received by the Govt. to production value. Of particular interest are Indirect taxes- paid on goods and services sold.

According to Govt. data Indirect taxes from April to December, 2016 grew stupendously by 25% compared to last year. Was this a result of a great business spell or traders and producers using up the demonetised notes on their hand to make tax payments promptly– we can take our pick.

Third, the worst hit in this whole episode were those outside the reaches of Digital India. Rural India, urban hawkers, independent  small businesses and all the several unnoticed workers who are the backbone of our economy-India’s informal sector.  Currently the CSO while drawing up the GDP estimates relies on company balance sheets. Such a method means that the true status of the informal sector would not have been reflected and in fact the hit taken by them underestimated, given that companies with ‘balance sheets’ were much better placed to adapt to the demonetisation experience.

With the different stats contradicting each other, mysterious revisions and an engineering process of GDP estimate that raises questions about its accuracy, the CSO data does not really inspire the kind of jubilance that it sought.