Economic slowdown a man-made catastrophe, govt to blame: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram
Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram launched a strident attack on the government over the state of Indian economy on Thursday, a day after getting bail in the INX Media case.

Stating the last six quarterly GDP growth figures, Chidambaram said the upcoming quarters are not likely to be any better. He also raised doubts over the GDP numbers. "Please remember Dr Arvind Subramanian’s caution that 5 per cent under this government, because of suspect methodology, is not really 5 per cent but less by about 1.5 per cent," he said.

"Government has turned out to be an incompetent manager of the economy," he added. Naming Raghuram Rajan, Urjit Patel and Arvind Panagariya, Chidambaram said people who understand things were banished by this government.

To further his point on the poor state of the economy, Chidambaram cited falling rural wages, declining farmers' income, rising onion prices, among others.

"Government is calling the present slowdown ‘cyclical’. Thank god they have not called it ‘seasonal’. It is ‘structural’ and the government has no solutions or reforms that would address the structural problems," he said.

He called the economic slowdown a man-made catastrophe.

Asked for comments on privatisation of PSUs, Chidambaram said the BPCL sale is a scandal and who gets the company will reveal more about government's intent.

Speaking at Congress headquarters in Delhi, the former finance minister started his statement saying his first though after release from jail were "for the 75 lakh people of the Kashmir Valley who have been denied their basic freedoms since August 4, 2019".

I intend to visit Jammu and Kashmir if Centre permits, he said.

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