Eco Survey completely disconnected with problems faced by common man: Congress

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The Congress on Friday hit out at the government on the Economic Survey, saying it is 'completely disconnected' with the reality as the country is facing difficult times on the economic front and it is not bothered about the problems faced by the common man.

Former finance minister and senior party leader P Chidambaram questioned the silence of the government on the country's GDP growth rates being revised downwards for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

'The state of the economy under MODI-1 was actually worse than what we believed so far. Will the articulate and voluble Ministers please speak on the state of the economy and explain the downward revision in the last two years and the drastic slide in the current fiscal year,' he said.

The government on Friday revised downwards the economic growth rate for 2018-19 to 6.1 per cent from 6.8 per cent estimated earlier.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala mocked the concept of 'thalinomics' given by Finance Ministry's Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy V Subramanian, saying the government had 'messed up again'.

'Modinomics + Degree in Entire Political Science = Thalinomics. Reality Check = khalinomics. Because 'thalinomics' results in - Inflation 7.3 pc, food inflation 14 pc, gas cylinder Rs 714, cooking oil Rs 135/Kg, pulses Rs 96-110/Kg and petrol Rs 73.27/litre. Messed up again,' Surjewala said in a tweet.

Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda accused the government of 'fudging data' and committing a 'fraud' saying the numbers presented by it were not believable by the world.

'Thanks to monumental mismanagement by the Modi government, the Indian economy is going through very difficult times. Yet the Economic Survey (ESI) 2019-20 released today is completely disconnected from this grim reality. But this is not surprising as all of the Modi government's chief economic advisers have ignored the ground realities in all these years,' Gowda said.

Taking a swipe at 'Thalinomics' concept, he said, ''Thali' will soon be 'Khali''.

'Thalinomics is another obfuscation. The claims of affordable thalis are misleading especially after the NSS consumption survey pointed out how food consumption has reduced, we are facing fears of rising poverty and malnutrition. What we have are shrinking thalis,' he said.

'The thalinomics sets stage for an attack on the poor of India,' he said.

Gowda also said the growth projections are erroneous as projections of 6-6.5 per cent made in this survey are not credible.

'One look at last year's projections of 7 pc growth versus the actual below 5 pc reality tells us we need to be prepared for even worse fiscal year in FY 2021. Optimism is welcome but the Economic Survey needs to have realistic believable projections,' he said.

He also noted that this survey certainly prepares the defence and ground for higher fiscal slippage in the budget on February 1 and a higher fiscal deficit.

The Congress leader said the survey talks about shifting the focus to 'Assemble in India' as an alternative to 'Make in India'.

'This is a clear admission of failure of the catchy slogan of 'Make in India'. This government did not bring in real reform on the ground to make manufacturing growth a reality,' he said.

Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said the government has not taken any concrete steps to end tax terrorism.

The government should have written a chapter in the economic survey on the noteban and wrong implementation of GST, then people would have understood the measures better, he said.

Another spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the party would welcome any relief given to the income tax payees, but demanded more rationalisation of indirect taxes.

She said India has to grow at 9 per cent and investment rates have to be 38 per cent to achieve the USD 5 trillion economy dream to come true by 2024.

Shrinate said 'tax terrorism' under this regime has peaked and there is a spike in trust deficit.

Gowda noted that Congress governments focused on growth and development steered by public sector spending and had built a strong, liberalised economy and that India's subsequent growth benefited from its policies.

'Unfortunately, our efforts to catch up with the rest of the world have not been helped by Modi government's policies or by its CEA's Economic Surveys,' he said.

'We find the CEA's inattention to distribution and inequality totally objectionable. Even now inequality is worsening. According to Oxfam's January, 2020 Report, India's richest one percent hold 42 percent of national wealth i.e. more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country's population,' he said.

The Congress leader said the Economic Survey makes grand claims while the reality is that India has the worst economy in 42 years, unemployment is at a historic high and for the first time in four decades consumption has fallen, raising the fear of increasing poverty and malnutrition, with revenues are drying up drastically.

'We need to put money back in the hands of our farmers, agricultural labourers, urban poor, and middle classes. What is the government's plan of action on this front? You will not find a clue in the Economic Survey,' he noted.

He said investments remain tepid despite the announcement of the 100 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline, which should actually be renamed 'National Infrastructure Pipedream'.

The Survey, he said, talks about trust which is completely lacking in the present regime. PTI SKC RHL