Economy in disastrous phase of slowdown: Congress

By  IANS | Updated:  May 09, 2019, 09:30 AM

p chidambaram lok sabha elections 2019
The Congress on Wednesday said Indian economy has entered a "disastrous" phase of economic slowdown under Narendra Modi-led BJP regime and the next government that forms after the Lok Sabha polls will have "huge" task of reviving it.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government was on its way out and the Congress was "ready to steer" the nation's economy as it comes to power, senior party leaders P. Chidambaram, Rajeev Gowda and Salman Soz said in a statement.
They said Prime Minister Narendra Modi indulged in "vile rhetoric" while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley blogged "poor attempts" at rationalising that language.
Between the rhetoric and the blogging, the government has forgotten the economy, they said. 
"The Indian economy has entered a disastrous phase of slowdown under the Modi-Jaitley 'jugalbandi' reflected by the consistent fall in quarterly growth of real GDP," the statement quoted the Congress leaders as saying. 
"A massive shortfall of Rs 1.6 lakh crore in the tax revenues would effectively increase the actual fiscal deficit to 3.9 per cent. The economy is expected to slow down further."
They said the slowdown was confirmed by household savings and private consumption data. 
The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had outperformed the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government if all high-frequency indicators that measure consumer sentiment are taken into the account, they asserted.
Jaitley has perfected the "art of concealing data and projecting doctored information" and poorest Indians were found to be worst sufferers of economic mismanagement, they said.
They said Modi is the first Prime Minister whose legacy will be of a "job destroying PM", built on the two "Tughlaqi farmans" of demonetization and Gabbar Singh Tax".
"In 2018 itself, India lost over 1.1 crore jobs," they said.
Calling Modi government "Suit Boot Sarkar", the Congress leaders said rural wages have stagnated while non-core inflation has grown. 
"Also, we are in the midst of the worst agricultural price slump in 18 years. Agricultural growth has halved in the Modi government (2014-2018) as compared to growth achieved under the UPA government (2004-2013). Additionally, rural casual labour has also seen an almost 30 per cent decline in employment," reads the statement.
They also said that the average total investments under the Modi government have seen an eight per cent decline versus the UPA I and II average.
"Manufacturing investments follow the same pattern," they said.
"Additionally, new project investments have also seen a slump from ~ Rs 2.8 trillion in December 2016 to less than ~ Rs 1 trillion in December 2018."
They also said there was a four-fold rise in banking frauds and wilful defaults under Modi government rule.
"A crisis on the NBFC (non banking financial companies) front has emerged with little response from the BJP government," reads the statement.
"A select few businesses, often in close association with the Prime Minister, have acted with impunity and led to the current crisis. BJP's cosying up to the likes of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi has resulted in a sharp rise in NPAs and a sluggish credit growth, leading to a squeeze in credit for the MSMEs," they said.
Modi-Jaitley's economic model is of "nationalisation of loss and privatisation of profit", they said. 
"This model has brought distress to every sector, the only exceptions have been the businesspeople close to the BJP." 
Mocking the BJP government, they said the only spectacular achievement of the Modi-Jaitley regime has been "squandering a favourable world trade climate".
"The trade outlook has been negative and portends a weak economy. Foreign investment inflows have been declining. The rupee fell to a historic low of 74/$. Demonetisation and GST broke the back of the economy, leading to a squeeze in exports," they said.
"At a time of a positive world trade climate, India's exports (as a percentage of GDP) fell to a 14-year low. The below-par export growth has been accompanied by a sharp rise in imports, leading to a record high trade deficit." 

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