If GDP is rising, where are the jobs?: Chidambaram

If every other indicator points south how is your GDP pointing north, asks Chidambaram

November 30, 2018 10:56 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 10:10 am IST - New Delhi

Dissecting numbers: Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor, P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari at an interactive programme held in New Delhi on Friday.

Dissecting numbers: Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor, P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari at an interactive programme held in New Delhi on Friday.

Days after the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog released the back-series data of GDP, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday mocked the Narendra Modi government for the figures that claimed that the NDA’s four years in government saw higher economic growth than the UPA’s.

“Even after this redefinition, the pattern of growth and decline remain exactly the same, just that the entire curve has moved down a jot. The pattern is that the best years of India’s growth were 2004 to 2014 since Independence. They cannot erase the fact,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

 

“Now, I hear that they are working on the back-series data of China to argue that China’s growth is less,” he said, evoking laughter from the audience at an interactive programme, “Is India Being Redefined”, organised by the All India Professional Congress.

The Congress leader also questioned why former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian kept a studied silence on demonetisation, which Mr. Chidambaram said was an “utterly foolish decision”.

Farm distress

“If the GDP growth in the past four years is better than UPA years, then why is investment down by almost 5-6 percentage points? Why are our exports not crossing the $315-billion mark registered in March 2014? Why is credit growth sluggish and credit growth to industry barely 1.4%. Why no jobs, why so much farm distress and maximum number of farmers’ suicides in the last four years,” he asked.

The event also saw participation from some of the most articulate Congress leaders like Shashi Tharoor, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khursid, Manish Tewari, Abhishek Singhvi and Sushmita Dev.

Mr. Tharoor moderated the discussion on wide-ranging issues. Asked if the government can try and convert India into a Hindu Rashtra, Mr. Khurshid said, “India is secular because a large section of the Indian majority is secular.”

 

Mr. Singhvi said the government was not short on effort to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra but the value of secularism was far too deeply entrenched.

Former Information and Broadcasting Minister Tewari said the way the government was allowed to pursue its “hate agenda” without being questioned sent an “ominous signal”. “The larger signal that the media is sending to any government is that if they are treated a certain way, they are willing to do its bidding,” Mr. Tewari said.

Sibal sees RSS hand

Mr. Sibal said there was no difference between the government and the party, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) determined government policy.

Speaking about women, Ms. Dev, who heads the Mahila Congress, said though the optics of the government with important Ministries such as Defence and External Affairs being headed by women was positive, the party’s mindset was regressive.

“Modi ji ’s Ujjwala scheme of giving LPG cylinders talks about doing a favour to two crore women. I believe gas is an energy issue but they connected women to the kitchen. It’s a small example but shows the mindset,” she said.

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