Power Ministry claims its data misinterpreted, Indiaspend rubbishes accusations!

Business Standard report

Business Standard report

Business Standard published a report on 25th July this year rebutting claims made by Power Ministry. The prominent newspaper actually did not publish the article based on in-house research but reprinted a report prepared by data analysis website Indiaspend (FactChecker.in). The report titled, “Power Ministry: Series Of False Claims, Marginal Improvements” attacked the ministry for juggling the numbers and showing substantial growth under it. The analysis was later shared by other media houses online. However, just four days later, on 28th July, Business Standard (BS) published an apology mentioning the earlier published report as incorrect. A line by line rebuttal from the concerned ministry was also published.

Nevertheless, both Indiaspend and Factchecker still stand by their arguments and got their response published in Business Standard on 28th July.

Claims by Power Ministry

Claims by Power Ministry

Let’s understand what the entire controversy is all about

1) Claim by Power Ministry: “Highest-ever” growth in power-generation capacity

“Comparable capacities were added during 2011-12 (20,502 MW) and 2012-13 (20,623 MW). If you consider the highest-ever growth in “power capacities added” between consecutive years, it actually happened between 2010-11 and 2011-12, when 8,341 MW capacity was added.”

Table 1

Table 1

Where Indiaspend/BS got it all wrong:

Power Ministry is correct in saying that 22566 MW added is the highest annual addition or power generation capacity was the highest during the same period. It’s clearly visible from column 2 of the table 1 released. However, Indispend misinterprets it by discussing “growth of growth.” It replaces meaning from “growth in capacity” to “growth in growth” in capacity which is meaningless, in this respect, at least. So, the column 3 added by them makes no sense here.

2. Claim by Power Ministry: First time in Indian history, a trillion units in 2014-15

Indispend/BS counter: “From 772 billion units of electricity generated during 2009-10 to 967 billion units during 2013-14, power generation rose by about 200 billion units in five years, a growth of 25.4%. So, it required only an additional 33 billion units, or 3.4%, to touch a trillion-unit mark.”

Table 2

Table 2

Where Indiaspend/BS got it all wrong:

While Indispend admits the claims about reaching a trillion-unit mark is true, it also claims ministry only required 33 billion units more to reach the stage. It only compares with previous years and says that from 2009 to 2014, power growth has been substantial 25.4% which is huge in comparison to January 2015 of 3.4% (required to reach a trillion mark) after NDA took over. Hence, the counter is hollow once again.

3.Claim by Power Ministry: Lowest-ever power deficit in 2014-15

Indispend/BS counter: “The deficit declined from around 10% during 2006-10 to 4.2% in 2013-14. The power deficit of 4.2% in 2013-14 was the lowest ever until then. So, the power deficit declining to 3.6% during 2014-15 was a reduction of 0.6% compared to the preceding year.”

Table 3

Table 3

Where Indiaspend/BS got it all wrong:

The counter is based on numbers mentioned in column 4 and column 5 in table 3 which discuss about deficit in absolute percentage terms, respectively. So government is true when it says about lower ever power deficit in 2014-15 even if the numbers are further split into absolute and percentage terms. However, Indiaspend countered it saying that the “greatest deficit reduction” was 4.2% in 2013-14. Ministry here talks about “lowest” deficit not “largest” deficit.

4. Claim by Power Ministry: A “significant increase” in wind-energy capacity installed during 2014-15

Indispend/BS counter: “Higher capacities were installed during consecutive years, 2010-11 (2,349 MW) and 2011-12 (3,196 MW).”

Where Indiaspend/BS got it all wrong:

The same problem in understanding arises once again. The ministry merely mentions “significant” increase and not the “highest” increase. There is no such claim of such kind made by the ministry actually. The government doesn’t claim 2,312 MW wind-energy capacity installed during 2014-15 was the highest, compared to 2,083 MW during 2013-14.

5.Claim by Power Ministry: “Significant increase” in small hydro projects 2014-15

Indispend/BS counter: “SHP capacities added during 2011-12 and 2012-13 were 352 MW and 237 MW, respectively.”

Where Indiaspend/BS got it all wrong:

Once again same problem arises with Indispend. You can easily see in the table that capacity has continuously fallen by 51% from high of 352 MW in 2011-12 to 2013-14. It was in 2014-15 that trend breaks and rise of 47% is witnessed vis-à-vis 2013-14. So, it’s definitely a significant increase in past 4 years.

6.Claim by Power Ministry: Four-year record in coal production

Indispend/BS counter: “The production figure of 462 MT during 2013-14 does not match data tabled by the current Coal Minister in Parliament on July 17, 2014. That data puts coal production during 2013-14 at 566 MT and not 462 MT.

Where Indiaspend/BS got it all wrong:

Better read it in the words of Power Ministry only.

Read response from Indiaspend

Ashish Pandey

I am a business journalist who is currently employed at Zee Business. My areas of interest include business and foreign policy. You can reach me on Twitter at @ashuvirgo1984 or @eFundsPlus.

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