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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Slowdown hurting, people reluctant to spend: CM, Sisodia target Centre in House discussion

Addressing the Delhi Assembly, which saw a discussion on the “situation”, Sisodia said it was self-inflicted and not due to any interplay of global factors as neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh are growing at a healthy rate.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | Updated: December 4, 2019 4:49:29 am
CM Kejriwal and L-G Anil Baijal at the convocation ceremony of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. (Praveen Khanna)

Economic slowdown has hit car sales in the capital, apart from bringing down demand for fuel and even consumption of alcohol, Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said Tuesday, pointing out that the slump has made people reluctant to spend.

Addressing the Delhi Assembly, which saw a discussion on the “situation”, Sisodia said it was self-inflicted and not due to any interplay of global factors as neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh are growing at a healthy rate. India’s GDP growth in the second quarter of the ongoing financial year slipped to a 26-quarter low of 4.5%, as per data released by the Union government.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the governance model being followed in Delhi, which was about ensuring people have more money to spend by lowering their expenses on power, water and transport, could perhaps be followed by other governments to boost demand.

The House passed a resolution commending the Delhi government for maintaining a revenue surplus, while demanding that the Centre immediately release Rs 3,200 crore it owes to the state on account of integrated goods and services tax (IGST) settlement and Rs 3,642 crore on account of state GST settlement.

Kejriwal suggested that the CAG report was a badge of honour for his government. In a lighter vein, he said the fact that the Centre could not unearth any scam despite “unleashing” its agencies, including the CBI, ED and Income Tax department, after AAP ministers and MLAs, was also a clean chit of sorts.

“Even my office and residence were raided by police. Perhaps, for the first time, state police raided the house of its own CM,” he said.

“We brought down tax rates, and our earnings shot up. Through our schemes, we have managed to put at least Rs 5,000 extra in every pocket in Delhi. This translates to around Rs 30,000 crore when we consider the potential savings of families in the city. The biggest problem this country is facing today is of demand,” Kejriwal said.

Sisodia attributed the jump in Delhi’s earnings to “honest governance”, lowering of tax rates on items, and discouraging coercive action and “extortions of traders” by tax department officials.

“I keep getting data as per which car sales and fuel consumption have come down. Even liquor consumption has come down, which is a good thing, but it also shows that people are reluctant to spend, they are scared. They blame global slowdown for the situation, but countries like Nepal and Bangladesh are growing. There’s no global slowdown,” he said.

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