New Delhi: Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy V Subramanian presents the Economic Survey 2019-20 during a press conference, in New Delhi, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (PTI)
The Congress on Friday tore into the government over its handling of the economy, hours after President Ram Nath Kovind addressed Parliament and the Economic Survey was tabled. The Congress said the Survey is completely disconnected from the “grim reality” that the Indian economy is going through “very difficult times”.
The Survey has no prescription to revive demand, boost investment and create jobs. It also paid no attention to bridge the inequality in distribution of wealth or spelt out measures to boost consumption, Congress spokesperson Rajiv Gowda said. He said the Survey has prepared the defence and ground for higher fiscal slippage in the budget.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also hit out at the government after it revised downwards the economic growth rate for 2018-19 to 6.1 per cent from 6.8 per cent estimated earlier. “GDP growth rates for 2017-18 and 2018-19 have been revised DOWNWARDS. 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 tweeted.
Gowda said the Survey makes grand claims while in reality, India has the worst economy in 42 years. “Unemployment is at a historic high. For the first time in four decades, consumption has fallen, raising the fear of increasing poverty and malnutrition. Revenues are drying up drastically. The government has now resorted to spending slowdowns and delays in transferring the states’ share in the GST. Our soldiers have to operate in Siachen and Ladakh without adequate equipment and requisite food. Yet, the Economic Survey will not tell us this. The entire exercise is now of chicanery and obfuscation,” Gowda told reporters.
“We are amidst of an unprecedented demand slump. It does not take a degree in political science to understand that we need to raise consumption demand... 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 added.
He also argued that the growth projections made in the Survey are erroneous. “The growth projection of 6-6.5% is not credible. One look at last year’s projections of 7% growth versus the actual below 5% reality tells us we need to be prepared for even worse fiscal year in financial year 2021... Economic Survey needs to have realistic believable projections,” he said.