The first rule of Wikipedia is, well, you never use it as your primary source of information.
A day ahead of the Union Budget 2020, the Economic Survey of India was tabled in Parliament by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Introducing the Survey, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) and its author Krishnamurthy Subramanian said, "The theme for this year's Economic Survey is Wealth Creation."
While the two-volume Survey primarily turned heads for undergoing a lavender makeover, it was brought under scanner on Twitter soon after.
Because believe it or not, the document, which maps the state of India’s economy and is prepared by a team of economists based in India's finance ministry, has cited Wikipedia twice in the Vol. 1 of the survey on pages 150 & 151 respectively.
The first graph showed the number of banks in the global top 100 while the second graph compared the country's GDP with that of China and USA.
Wikipedia aka online encyclopedia, owned and supported by Wikimedia Foundation is a website that is curated and managed by volunteers all across the globe. While Wikipedia may assist you with school and college assignments, using it as your primary data source isn't advisable. For starters, Wikipedia pages are susceptible to vandalism by miscreants on a daily basis - meaning, you may end up extracting factually incorrect data from it. The free website is also constantly undergoing changes every day by users, making it all the more unreliable and unfit to use - especially in sensitive documents such as the Economic Survey of India.
But it did happen, unfortunately.
Baffled by this, several social media users pointed out the usage of Wikipedia along with Survey's screenshots.
Economic Survey has found a new source to base estimates (Page 150, 151): Wikipedia #EconomicSurvey2020 #EconomicSurvey @SubramanianKri @andymukherjee70 @someshjha7 @sardesairajdeep @ravishndtv @Nidhi pic.twitter.com/Mjhs2Ch0cC— Anurag Sharma (@anuragshaarma) January 31, 2020
Have you ever imagined a survey taking data from Wikipedia?— Madhav Mantri (@madhavmantri) February 1, 2020
Has any teacher allowed even a Grade 7 student to use Wikipedia data in his/her project report?
But, the economic survey report has used it in two places!!!
Someone can understand the seriousness of govt on economy pic.twitter.com/PnvTbdaua6
Wikipedia being the source for our economic survey pic.twitter.com/GPv1xJIZB1— S. A AJIMS (@saajims) February 1, 2020
The Economic Survey cited data from Wikipedia!!!— Usman raza : उस्मान रज़ा (@NsuiRaza) February 1, 2020
Did the Finance Minister @nsitharaman and the Ministry think that they were doing their 5th standard holiday homework??
What a joke! #BudgetSession2020 #Budget2020
The official Twitter handle of Indian National Congress did not shy away from taking shots at the central government.
We're assuming that during the course of Entire Political Science, citing Wikipedia was allowed - however, given the Economic Survey is supposed to maintain sanctity of fact & seriousness, it's shocking to see such frivolity in citations. https://t.co/sQKXKSPdjJ— Congress (@INCIndia) February 1, 2020
First time ever: Economic Survey mentions Wikipedia as source of data (Pg 150-151). Wow! Just wow!— Sridhar V (@sritara) January 31, 2020
If Wikipedia can be used as a source for the Economic Survey, can it be cited for research papers too ? Asking for a friend...— Radhika Roy (@royradhika7) January 31, 2020