We warned government, but it ignored: Congress on sharp GDP fall

We warned government, but it ignored: Congress on sharp GDP fall

NEW DELHI: The Congress Monday attacked the government over a sharp decline in the GDP numbers and alleged the NDA dispensation ignored the party’s warnings and took no preventive steps to cushion the fall.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the government ignored his warnings in this regard six months ago, while his party colleague and former finance minister P Chidambaram stated it will take many months before the economy turns the corner and registers positive growth.

“GDP reduces by 24 percent. The worst in Independent India’s history. Unfortunately, the Government ignored the warnings,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

The country’s economy suffered its worst slump on record in April-June, with the gross domestic product (GDP) contracting by 23.9 per cent as the coronavirus-related lockdowns weighed on the already-declining consumer demand and investment.

Chidambaram said all this had been anticipated and the Congress had warned the government and urged it to take preventive and preemptive measures.

“Our pleas fell on deaf ears. The country, as a whole, is paying a heavy price, the poor and the vulnerable are in despair. It is only the Modi government that was nonchalant and uncaring. The government peddled a fake narrative, but that narrative has been exploded today by the CSO estimates,” Chidambaram said.

“Let me say with regret: it will take many months before the economy turns the corner and registers positive growth. The inaction and ineptitude of the government gives us no hope that we will see light at the end of the tunnel at any time soon,” the former finance minister said.

He said the GDP in the first quarter has declined by a whopping 23. 9 per cent, which means about one quarter of the gross domestic output as on June 30, 2019 has been wiped out in the last 12 months or the gross domestic output has fallen by about 20 per cent since the end of 2019-20.

The Congress leader said the only sectors that has grown is Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing at 3. 4 per cent, and the Finance Minister, who blamed an ‘Act of God’ for the economic decline, should be grateful to the farmers and the gods who blessed the farmers.

He said every other sector of the economy has declined sharply, some precipitously, and this does not “come as a surprise to us”.

“They should be a matter of surprise to the government that was seeing ‘green shoots’ on several days during the first quarter.

They should also be a matter of shame to the government that did nothing — literally nothing — to cushion the fall by taking suitable fiscal and welfare measures, but we know that the Modi government has no shame and will not acknowledge its mistakes,” he alleged.

Chidambaram said the economic tragedy was foretold by many close observers of the Indian economy, most recently by the RBI in its Annual Report released a few days ago.

“Of the world’s major and advanced economies, India’s economy declined more than any other country’s except the economy of the United States. What does that tell us? That Mr Modi stands second only to Mr Trump in terms of incompetent economic mismanagement,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.

The GDP contraction of India, the world’s fifth-largest economy, compared with 3.1 per cent growth in the preceding January-March quarter and 5.2 per cent expansion in the corresponding period a year back, according to official data released on Monday.

This is the sharpest contraction since quarterly figures started being published in 1996 and worse than what was expected by most analysts.

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