New Delhi: Expressing deep concern over the state of the economy, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday that five per cent GDP growth last quarter signals that India is in the midst of a prolonged economic slowdown.
In a video statement, Dr Singh lashed out at the Centre for “all-round mismanagement” and highlighted the manufacturing sector, whose growth was “tottering at 0.6 per cent”.
“This makes it very clear that our economy has not yet recovered from the manmade blunders of demonetisation and a hastily implemented GST,” he said.
The former PM’s comments came barely two days after government data revealed that the country had seen the slowest pace of growth in the past six years. He said that domestic demand was depressed and that consumption growth was at an 18-month low, while the nominal GDP growth was at a 15-year low.
“There is a gaping hole in tax revenues. Tax buoyancy remains elusive as businessmen small and big are hounded and tax terrorism continues unabated. Investor sentiment is in the doldrums. These are not the foundations for economic recovery”.
India’s GDP growth was five per cent in the first quarter of FY20 vis-a-vis 5.8 per cent in the previous quarter. The growth in the quarter ended June 30 last year stood at eight per cent.
Dr Singh also blamed the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, claiming they had led to “massive jobless growth” with over 3.5 lakh jobs being lost in the automobile sector alone. He also stressed on farmers not getting adequate prices and said that rural incomes had declined. “The low inflation rate that the Modi government likes to showcase comes at the cost of our farmers and their income by inflicting misery on over 50 per cent of India’s population,” he added.
“India cannot afford to continue down this path. Therefore, I urge the government to put aside vendetta politics, and reach out to all sane voices and thinking minds, to steer our economy out of this manmade crisis,” he said.
The senior Congress leader, who has been elected again to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan, said India had the potential to grow at a much faster rate.