POLITICS

Anurag Thakur counters Chidambaram, says economy will rebound in times ahead

Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs has countered Congress leader P Chidambaram’s attack on the government over its handling of the economy, saying that the Indian economy is resilient and will rebound on the basis of its strong fundamentals.

“Indian economy is resilient and will rebound in the times ahead based on consistent reforms that have ensured strong fundamentals through these difficult times,” he said.

“I am not surprised that the former Finance Minister chose to ignore hard data and instead went ahead with ‘whataboutery’. The Congress leadership has embodied this clueless approach over the years,” the MoS Finance added.

The minister noted that “consistent reforms and strong fundamentals” have ensured that India had a swift rebound from a contraction of 24.4 per cent in the first quarter of FY 2020-21 to a growth of 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY 2020-21.

Rebutting Chidambaram, Thakur said: “While you doubt the resilience of the Indian entrepreneurs, small businesses, traders and MSMEs to revive themselves, various international agencies have projected India to grow by 12.5 per cent in FY 2021-22, making us the only major economy to have a projected double digit growth.”

Thakur also questioned the Congress leader by asking whether the Indian economy is an island in isolation in terms of economic impact of the pandemic.

“Are you not aware that France, Germany, Italy, the UK contracted by 8.2 per cent, 4.9 per cent, 8.9 per cent and 9.9 per cent, respectively? Canada, Russia, South Africa and the US too have seen contraction in their GDP in the past year. Despite the disruptions in the globalised world, India has remained resilient,” Thakur said.

Chidambaram had said on Tuesday that 2020-21 has been the darkest year of the economy in four decades and that the government should print more money, if necessary, as suggested by several economists, including Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee.

Addressing a virtual press conference, Chidambaram had attacked the government over the GDP numbers.

He said, “As expected, the GDP at constant prices recorded a negative growth of (-) 7.3 per cent, the first time India has recorded negative annual growth since 1979-80.

“The year 2020-21 has been the darkest year of the economy in four decades. The performance in the four quarters of 2020-21 tells the story. The first two quarters witnessed a recession (-24.4 and -7.4 per cent). The performance in the third and fourth quarters did not herald a recovery.”

(With IANS inputs)

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