Other States

PM’s optimism on resurgent Indian economy ‘unrealistic’, says Prithviraj Chavan

Direct cash transfers were imperative to cushion the livelihoods of financially distressed people from the ravages of the novel coronavirus pandemic, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congressman Prithviraj Chavan said on Thursday.

He also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s optimism on the resurgence of the economy and said it was “unrealistic”.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr. Chavan said: “The Prime Minister is being ridiculously sanguine when he talks of his government bringing the economy back on track this financial year. This flies in the face of bleak forecasts by international credit rating agencies as well as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor.”

Mr. Chavan said despite credit agencies predicting negative growth and a downturn for the first time in 40 years of India’s economy, the Prime Minister was saying exactly the opposite.

The former Maharashtra chief minister was alluding to the Prime Minister’s June 2 speech at the annual session of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) where he had spoken of the country getting its growth back.

“Credit rating agencies have said that the pandemic has put the country towards ‘negative’ growth. The need of the hour is for the Centre to inject massive cash injection via direct benefit transfer into the accounts of small farmers, labourers and other financially backward sections to increase their spending capacity,” Mr. Chavan said.

He also warned of the looming spectre of anarchy and disorder if the poor were not helped immediately with direct cash transfers, as a majority of the industries were still closed.

“A fraction of the Centre’s recent stimulus package of ₹20 lakh crore has been earmarked for cash transfer, which is wholly inadequate. It proves that the Centre is totally divorced from reality. In this bleak scenario, the Centre must print notes, borrow credit and do everything possible to put money into people’s pockets to get the economy buzzing,” Mr. Chavan said.

Noting that the industry was currently in distress and that people’s spending capacity was significantly reduced, he said direct cash transfers were not impractical given that the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries were doing the same.

He observed that credit rating agencies, including Moody’s, had not downgraded India’s rating only because of the slowdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, but because of the manner in which the economy was handled in the past few years.

“The agencies had said that the downgrading of the economy had begun right from the Centre’s demonetisation policy and its GST implementation. In fact, under the Modi regime, the economy has been plummeting in the past six years,” Mr. Chavan said.


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 11:13:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pms-optimism-on-resurgent-indian-economy-unrealistic-says-prithviraj-chavan/article31808542.ece

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