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Mamata slams Modi govt after growth slows due to demonetisation

Right at the time demonetisation was announced by the central government, I had voiced my concern that the country would have to face severe loss of jobs and drastic decline in productivity due to demonetisation, Banerjee said.

business Updated: Jun 04, 2017 23:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mamata Banerjee,West Bengal,Demonetisation
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.(HT photo)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday she was correct in opposing the demonetisation move by the Centre, a day after data showed a weaker-than-expected economic growth that may have been hit by the ban on high-denomination banknotes.

“Right at the time demonetisation was announced by the Central Government, I had voiced my concern that the country would have to face severe loss of jobs and drastic decline in productivity due to demonetisation. My apprehension is now proven to be true,” she wrote on Facebook.

“Rampant job loss has been reported across the country with the agriculture and unorganised sector in worst shape. What have the people, who pushed the country to this crisis, to say?” she asked on the social networking platform.

Government data showed India’s economic growth slowed to 6.1% in the fourth quarter ending March 2017, compared with 7.1% in the previous quarter, as the note ban decision slowed activity in cash-dependent sectors - indicating India was no longer the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.1% in the full financial year 2016-17, slower than 8% recorded in the previous year.

After November’s demonetisation drive, the government has come under criticism from opposition political parties and economists for putting a poke on India’s growth story and triggering job cuts.

Banerjee was the first to tweet her opposition to Modi’s demonetisation announcement in November last year and was also the first to announce a plan to take her opposition to states such as Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab.

“The Q4 GDP figure this fiscal has come down to 6.1%. The corresponding GDP figure in the previous fiscal was 7.9%. So, the decline is nearly 2 per cent point,” Banerjee jibed.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also criticised the Union government over the economic indicators that showed the country’s GDP growth to have slowed.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, however, played down the impact of demonetisation on growth saying that a “7-8% growth is very reasonable” and clarified that global factors were responsible for a GDP growth of 6.1% in the three months of January to March.

Jaitley also rubbished claims of jobless growth as opposition’s propaganda.

“People need some issues for propaganda. Jobs don’t get created outside the economic sector. If growth increases, jobs will also grow,” Jaitley said.

First Published: Jun 01, 2017 13:52 IST