Time For Contrition, Not Boast: Congress’s Takedown Of Economic Survey

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Congress’s P Chidambaram said the last two years have “impoverished people”.

New Delhi:

The Congress today issued a blistering criticism of the economic survey — which projected an 8 per cent to 8.5 per cent growth in 2022-23 — saying it will take the BJP government 2 years to just back to the pre-pandemic situation. “This is a time for contrition and change (of approach), not for boasts and no change,” tweeted senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was the finance minister in the Manmohan Singh government.

In a series of tweets, Mr Chidambaram said the last two years have “impoverished people”. “Millions of jobs have been lost;  84% households have suffered loss of income;  4.6 crore have been pushed into poverty,” he added, pointed out that the country now ranks 104 out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index.

“The EconomicSurvey2022 is a classic case of “what statistics say” versus “what they actually reveal,” tweeted his party colleague Randeep Surjewala.

“It clearly reveals ‘Intrinsic Weakness of the Economy’ and the ‘Gross Economic Mismanagement’ by the Modi Government… Govt should be ashamed of the economic ruin caused by misplaced priorities,” he added.

“EconomicSurvey2022 fails to assess the brutal impact of high prices on Indians – with massive job losses & erosion of incomes! It ignores the divide – as income of richest Indians increased by 13 Lakh CR, the poorest 15 CR households have seen income reduction of 53%,” Mr Surjewala said in other posts.

“Self serving cheerful assessment of economy raises doubts about what the Budget is set out to achieve- which should be to stimulate the ailing economy, revive sectors, boost consumption, encourage investment & create jobs -none of which the survey insists is a problem at all!” read another post.

The dig was at the survey’s prediction that country will witness an actual GDP expansion of 9.2 per cent in 2021-22. The figure is higher than 9 per cent growth projection by the International Monetary Fund for the current fiscal, but lesser than Reserve Bank’s 9.5 per cent growth forecast for 2021-22.

For the next fiscal, the growth rate figure for the next fiscal projected by the Economic Survey is lesser than the 9 per cent rate of growth for 2022-23 projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“This implies that overall economic activity has recovered past the pre-pandemic levels,” the survey noted.

The Economic Survey document was tabled by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament today, a day before the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1.

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the government sees high tax collection as its big achievement but does not see the people’s pain under the tax burden, referring to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark that gross tax revenue during April-November 2021 has grown by 50 per cent year-on-year, while the GST mop up remained above Rs 1 lakh crore mark since July 2021.

“The people of the country are troubled by the burden of tax collection, whereas for the Modi government the tax earnings are a big achievement. There is a difference of perception — they see only their wealth, not the pain of the people,” Mr Gandhi said in a Hindi tweet.

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