Economy had been falling for eight quarters even before the pandemic, says Supriya Shrinate, Congress national spokesperson
GN Bureau | November 26, 2020
Coming down heavily on the government for economic de-growth and job losses, Congress national spokesperson Supriya Shrinate has said that even before the Covid pandemic struck, the economy had been falling down for eight consecutive quarters.
The former journalist said that while the world’s economy was rising, India’s growth rate was dropping. She cited the example of media industry where mass layoffs have taken place for technicians, cameraperson, producers, production assistants, journalists and others, and said, “These people are not going to find jobs. Who is responsible for this ruin? Who is responsible for the catastrophe we have embarked the Indian economy on?”
Shrinate was in in a live conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, on Thursday as part of the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
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Shrinate said that the Indian economy began to slip because of inefficiency, incompetence and decision-making of this government, and from FY 2017 to FY 2020 the GDP growth rate halved. From 8.2% growth it slipped to 4.3% in FY 2020 and the economy will contact further in FY 2021. “Even before Covid, the Indian economy kept falling down for eight consecutive quarters. While the world was growing our growth rate was dropping,” she said.
She added that even before the pandemic, the unemployment rate had hit a 45-year high due to demonetisation and hurriedly imposed GST which led to economic ruin. Economic opportunities, job creation, self-employment and wages are coming down.
“Besides the GDP growth, GDP volume is also shrinking. The concept of ‘ease of doing business’ is Mumbai- and Delhi-centric and with the World Bank too saying that the ratings system is flawed, you are chasing the wrong post,” she said.
While speaking on the government’s second tranche of Rs 20 lakh crore Atmanirbhar package which it said is 10% of India’s GDP, Shrinate said that when along with senior Congress leader with P Chidambaram, various researchers, global observers, economists and even government officials sat down together to calculate, they realised that the fresh expenditure outlay was in fact only Rs 1.86 lakh crore, which is less than 1% of the GDP. Everything else was the refurbished union budget announced in February 2020.
She said the government was pushing for loans when people are uncertain about their jobs and wages could be reduced to half. “Will those people take loans? Out of the government’s allocated Rs 3 lakh crore loans to MSMEs, the reason why half of this money is still lying with the government is that people don’t know how they will repay these loans in current economic situation.”
Instead, she said, the government should boost consumption which will increase production and lead to employment of more people and job creation; otherwise economic revival will only be a pipe dream.
While responding to a question on the UP government clearing a draft ordinance against forced religious conversions and the so-called ‘love jihad’, Shrinate said that there are existing laws against forced conversion. She also mentioned that in 1968 the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh had come out with a law on forced conversion in case there was any attempt to entice a person through money, opportunities etc. Moreover, there are at least 10 sections of the Indian Penal Code that can be enforced if there is forced conversion or any trace of proof that a marriage was done by forced conversion. So, the UP government needs to explain why it could not rely on existing laws.
She argued that the Yogi Adityanath government was going ahead with the ordinance, “because the word ‘love jihad’ is going to polarise [communities] and denotes what you want this society to be. It is a blatant, naked, shameless and demeaning attempt to polarize.” She added that as a young Indian she finds it ridiculous and belittling that two consenting individuals cannot decide about their marriage.
Citing the example of the Allahabad high court judgment earlier in the month wherein the court said that right to live with a person of his or her choice irrespective of religion professed by them is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty, Shrinate said the Tanishq advertisement which had to be withdrawn was in fact reflective of the plurality of Indian culture and a celebration of motherhood.
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