Note ban move was 'extraordinarily foolish', took economy down: Chidambaram

Congress leader P Chidambaram.
The Congress slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial demonetisation move, saying it was an “extraordinarily foolish” measure that had set the economy further back.

Reacting to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data which showed gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 1.3 per cent from 7.9 per cent in 2015-16 to 6.6 per cent in 2016-17, former finance minister P Chidambaram said what the Congress and the other Opposition parties had been saying all along had turned out to be true.

Noting he had predicted a decline in GDP by one to 1.5 per cent after demonetisation on November 8, 2016, Chidambaram said the economy was slowing down in 2016 but instead of taking corrective measures, the government came up with the “extraordinarily foolish” measure that has further set the economy back. This, he said, plunged millions into misery.

According to the former finance minister, the government had failed on all three key indicators of vibrant economic growth like investment-to-GDP ratio, credit growth and job creation. The CSO data, he said, had proved the Congress right and the government wrong.

Saying he did not know how the government will go forward, Chidambaram wondered for how long the Centre will keep fooling itself and the people of India by saying that “all is well and the country is on the right course.”

Sounding a note of caution, he said the economy was declining rapidly and unless corrective measures were taken, the situation will worsen.

Recently, Chidambaram and his son Karti have been facing Central Bureau of Investigation and income tax raids for various alleged violations. The former finance minister has been severely criticising the government, especially its economic policies and alleged he was being hounded for this role.