Sitharaman made the remarks during a debate about the economy in the Rajya Sabha. She compared India’s GDP to the last five years of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA rule saying, “India’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was at 6.4% at the end of 2009-2014, whereas between 2014-2019 it was at 7.5%.”
ANI quoted her as saying, “If you are looking at the economy with a discerning view, you see that growth may have come down but it is not a recession yet, it will not be a recession ever.”
The Congress on Wednesday attacked the Narendra Modi government over the situation of the economy.
According to a report in PTI, Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said that it was time for the Modi dispensation to wake up, take note of “real statistics” and act to fix the problem.
“Rural India has been driven into a hole by the Modi government. The people benefitted from Minimum Support Price (MSP) under the UPA government but it has fallen under the Modi government,” PTI reported Gowda as saying.
“The measures that are being taken are not resolving anything. A lot more trouble is on its way, monthly GST targets have not been met in 2019, it will result in a bigger fiscal deficit. Despite taking money from RBI they will not be able to meet their budget targets,” Gowda said, according to the PTI report.
Sitharaman’s remarks come even as several markers of the economy have pointed otherwise. Car sales dropped, India’s service sector growth also slowed down. An National Statistical Office survey showed that the country’s consumer spending fell during 2017-18 for the first time in four decades.
Black economy expert Arun Kumar had told Huffpost India’s Akshay Deshmane in an interview that this was not a slowdown, but a full-blown recession, and that this was directly linked to demonetisation.
Kumar had said, “If you take the unorganised sector into account, our rate of growth became negative during that period of demonetisation and for months after that. And it has remained zero or negative right through. If you take only the organised sector into account, then there is a slowdown. But if you take the unorganised plus organised sector into account and look at alternate data, then we have been in a recession for the last three years, not a slowdown.”
(With PTI inputs)