KOLKATA: Amid opposition's allegation that the government was fudging growth figures, former president Pranab Mukherjee has said the sanctity of data must be kept intact and "not manipulated".
He also lauded the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the planned development of the country under him through the Planning Commission.
The body that used to prepare five-year plans was dismantled by the Modi government and 'Niti Aayog' was brought in its place.
"When I read in newspapers that in some debate in Parliament on in some state assembly the data are questioned, I feel sad.
I used to take pride in the authenticity of the Economic Survey which is brought by the chief economic advisor of the finance minister every year.
"Sanctity of data as fact have to be kept intact, it cannot be manipulated. It cannot be designed in any particular way. That will be disastrous, to my mind," he told an event of the Indian Statistical Institute on Wednesday.
Mukherjee, who was the chairman of the ISI council before becoming the president, was being felicitated on being awarded Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award.
In an apparent reference to Nehru's criticism by top BJP leaders, he said the first prime minister was among the architects of modern planning and economic development of India.
Referring to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, he said demonetisation had an adverse impact on economic growth.
"An economist and former prime minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh told, I think within a week or so, that impact of banning high denomination notes will have immediate adverse impact on growth and its has come true," he said.
He, however, said that there was nothing wrong with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) "in principle".
The former president also said dialogue was "inevitable and necessary" in a democracy.