NEW DELHI: Congress’s Rahul Gandhi today flagged the economic slowdown again and accused the government of failing to acknowledge that there is a problem. The senior leader had also highlighted the issue on Sunday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a report card of the first 100 days of his government in its second term. The government has laid down a goal of expanding to a 5 trillion dollar economy pulling up the economic growth that has dropped to a five-year low.
“What India needs isn’t propaganda, manipulated news cycles & foolish theories about millennials, but a concrete plan to #FixTheEconomy that we can all get behind. Acknowledging that we have a problem is a good place to start,” Mr Gandhi’s tweet read.
On Tuesday, finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comment attributing the auto sector crisis to millennials’ preference for Uber and Ola cabs had set off a flurry of criticisms on social media.
“Automobile sector, in particular, has been affected by several things. These include BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) movement, the registration fee issue that has been deferred till June and the mindset of millennials, who are now preferring not to commit EMIs to buying automobiles but prefer to use Ola or Uber or take the metro,” Ms Sitharaman had said.
On Sunday, Mr Gandhi had tweeted alleging a “glaring lack of leadership, direction & plans where it’s needed the most – to turnaround our ravaged economy”. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also a noted economist, has repeatedly attributed the slowdown to the notes ban of 2016 and a faulty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax.
The Congress attacks come amid a slew if measures by the government to prop up the sagging economy that is witnessing job cuts across various sectors, and defend its ambitious target of containing fiscal deficit at 3.3 per cent of the GDP.
Over the last weeks, the government relaxed norms for Foreign Direct Investment in several sectors including single brand retail, digital media and the manufacturing sector and merged weak public sector banks with the strong ones as part of plans to create stronger global-sized lenders.
Last month the Reserve Bank of India approved a record Rs. 1.76 lakh crore payout — a move that was dubbed “stealing from the RBI” by Mr Gandhi. The record transfer, including a surplus of Rs. 1.23 lakh crore for 2018-19, is expected to boost the government’s finances as it tries to tackle a nearly five-year low economic growth.