The Congress has hit out at the Centre after data released by the Central Statistics Office on Friday revealed that India’s gross domestic product grew by a slower pace of 3.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019-20. Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram blamed the government’s economic management for the new low in GDP growth.
“We had forecast that GDP for Q4 will touch a new low at below 4 per cent. It has turned out to be worse at 3.1 per cent. Remember, this is pre-lockdown. Of the 91 days of Q4, lockdown applied to only to 7 days. It is a telling commentary on the economic management of the BJP government,” Chidambaram tweeted.
His party demanded an explanation from the government regarding the slide in GDP growth.
“Who is to be held accountable for the continuous slide in the economy since the last four years? We demand that the government give an explanation to the nation about the failure of the much-marketed Make in India programme. The government should also accept the failure of demonetisation and the faulty implementation of GST,” Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said.
Saying that 3.1 per cent was the lowest GDP growth rate in the last 44 quarters, the Congress pointed to what it said were several areas of concern, particularly the manufacturing sector which has contracted by 1.4 per cent, indicating that demand has collapsed in the economy.
“Manufacturing growth for the financial year 2019-20 has been zero per cent, indicating a complete failure of the Make in India programme. Factory output (IIP) contracted by 16 per cent, indicating a significant pain in the MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector as well as cause for high unemployment. Industry Growth at -0.6 per cent (Q4FY20) clearly indicates that the pain continues on the unemployment front in Q4 of FY20,” Vallabh said.
“Services falls to 4.4 per cent (Q4FY20) from 5.7 per cent (Q3FY20)… Construction sector at -2.2 per cent clearly indicates high unemployment in the migrant labour segment pre COVID19,” he added.
The Congress said that despite a continuous slide in GDP growth, the government has neither accepted the mistakes nor has it come out with any concrete solution.
“Further, there is no indication of any action to spur demand, and instead, the government has started a course of pushing the entire country into deep debt through its faulty and lofty claims of stimulus package to counter COVID-19. With today’s numbers… it is clearly proven that even before coronavirus cases started to surge in our country, the economy was struggling through a prolonged economic slowdown,” he added.
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