The Congress called the GDP growth rebound a temporary pause from the downward trend and said the stress in the economy has continued.
“If the GDP numbers released by the government are to be taken at face value, the general inference points towards an arrest in the continued fall of the Indian economy. However, a closer scrutiny takes away the confidence that these numbers otherwise would have generated in the people of India,” Congress communications department head Randeep Surjewala said.
“A dispassionate assessment reveals serious weaknesses in the Indian economy, affecting all major sectors. Income inequalities are worsening, unemployment is rising, the rural economy is struggling for breath, farmers are being driven to suicide and the middle class is getting crushed under the double whammy of demonetisation and a flawed GST. If we look at the fine print, several indices look extremely weak and disappointing,” he said.
The ruling BJP has celebrated the growth figures and BJP chief Amit Shah said the bounceback underlined the “India Unstoppable” story under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The growth in the manufacturing sector, he said, was a very positive sign.
Surjewala said agriculture growth (gross value added) slowed to 1.7 per cent in the second quarter from 4.1 per cent registered in the same quarter the previous year. Manufacturing growth slowed to 7 per cent in this quarter from 7.7 per cent in same quarter last year. “Growth in the eight core-sector industries remained stagnant and slowed at 4.7 per cent in October 2017…. The cumulative growth in the eight core sectors slowed down to 3.5 per cent as against 5.6 per cent in the comparable period of the last fiscal. The construction sector is also massively hit,” the Congress leader said.
Addressing a press conference separately, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “fooling” people with his statement that no loans of big defaulters have been waived. He claimed the government had written off Rs 1.88 lakh crore debts of those who had wilfully defaulted. “The Modi government has continuously and constantly benefited a select group of cronies by waiving their loans,” he told reporters.