'Ostrich reading economic data': Anurag Thakur replies to Chidambaram on GDP
Giving a point-by-point reply to senior Congress leader P Chidambaram's statement that 2020-2021 is the darkest year of the economy in four decades, finance minister of state Anurag Thakur on Wednesday issued a statement and said he is not surprised that the former Congress leader chose to "ignore hard data and went ahead with whataboutery". "Consistent reforms and strong fundamentals have ensured India had a swift rebound from a contraction of 24.4 % in the 1st quarter of FY 2020-21 to a growth of 1.6 per cent in the 4th quarter of FY 2020-21," Thakur said.
"While you doubt the resilience of Indian entrepreneurs, small businesses, traders and MSMEs to revive themselves; various international agencies project India to grow by 12.5% in FY 2021-22 making us the only major economy to have a projected double-digit growth," the minister said.
Chidambaram on Tuesday said most Indians are poorer than they were two years ago and for this, the government must admit its "errors of commission and omission, reverse its policies and heed the advice of economists and the opposition".
In a reply, Anurag Thakur asked whether all other major economies of the world remained insulated from the impact of the pandemic. "Is the Indian economy an island in isolation; have other major economies not faced a GDP contraction? Are you not aware that France, Germany, Italy, UK contracted by 8.2%, 4.9%, 8.9% and 9.9% respectively? Canada, Russia, South Africa, USA too have seen a contraction in their GDP in the past year. Despite the disruptions in the globalised world, India has remained resilient," he said.
Rebutting Chidambaram's claim that not much progress has been made on the issue of ash transfers, Anurag Thakur said the Congress misled the farmers on the issue of agri laws and engaged in protests. " Today the farmers are happy and have differentiated the truth from the false narrative of congress leaders," he said.
"The NDA government procured 306.9 million tonnes of paddy and 162.7 million tonnes of wheat in last 5 years Vs the period 2009-13 during the UPA tenure wherein only 176.8 million tonnes of paddy and 139.5 million tonnes of wheat was procured," he said.
Chidambaram on Tuesday said the predictions of the V-shaped economic recovery was a false story. "When the first wave of the pandemic appeared to subside last year, the Finance Minister and her Chief Economic Adviser began to sell the story of a recovery. They saw 'green shoots' when no one else did. They predicted a V-shaped recovery. It was a false story and we had expressed our strong reservations and warned there were no signs of a recovery. We had pointed out that what the economy needed was a strong dose of stimulus, including increased government expenditure, direct transfers of cash to the poor and liberal distribution of free rations. Our pleas fell on deaf ears, and the result is a negative growth of (-) 7.3 per cent," he said.
Citing the graph of the Central Statistics Office, the finance minister said only an ostrich would deny the shape of the graph.