Congress attacks Modi govt as GDP contracts by 7.3% last fiscal

New Delhi: The Congress party on Tuesday launched a concerted attack at the Modi-led central government after the government data released on Monday showed that India’s Gross Domestic Growth (GDP) growth rate contracted by 7.3 percent.

This is the first full-year contraction in the Indian economy in the last four decades since 1979-80, when GDP had shrunk by 5.2 per cent. 

“PM’s hall of shame – Minimum GDP, Maximum Unemployment,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Tuesday, along with a graph of rising unemployment among the youth during the tenure of the Modi government.

“Disaster in the economy and Opportunity in disaster” is the masterstroke of the Modi government, Priyanaka Gandhi Vadra said in another tweet.

Other Congress party leaders too took to Twitter and hit out at mismanagement of the pandemic, which led to dire economic repercussions.

‘Darkest year in four decades’: Chidambaram

Former finance minister under the Congress regime, P Chidambaram blamed the “ineptitude and incompetent” economy management of the Modi government for the state of the economy.

The current state of the economy is no doubt largely due to the impact of the pandemic, but it has been compounded by the ineptitude and incompetent economic management of the BJP-led NDA government,” Chidambaram said, addressing a virtual press conference.

He further went on to blame the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman who ‘sold the story of recovery’. “They saw green shoots when no one else did. They predicted a V-shaped recovery,” Chidambaram said.

Calling FY21 as the ‘darkest year in four decades’, the Congress leader pointed out that the per capita GDP had declined 8.2 per cent as compared to the last year, leaving individuals poorer than they were two years ago.

“Nobel laureate Dr Abhijit Banerjee has called for printing money and increasing spending,” Chidambaram said, adding that the government has the space and the sovereign right to print money and “if at any point the government feels that too much money is being printed, it can always stop printing.”

India’s GDP figures

Even as the country’s economy contracted for the whole years, GDP grew by 1.6 per cent in the January-March period, up from 0.5 per cent in the previous quarter when India began pulling out of a steep pandemic-induced recession in the earlier six months.

The overall contraction too  has been much better compared to the forecasts of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), which had expected the GDP to contract by 8 percent.

The lockdown during the first wave last year resulted in a 24.4 per cent contraction in GDP in Q1, followed by a V-shaped recovery with a 7.4 per cent decline in Q2, improving to 0.5 per cent in Q3 and 1.6 per cent in Q4, the figures show.

The National Statistical Office (NSO) data on Monday showed growth in the March quarter was robust across sectors with agriculture, industry and services sectors. The manufacturing sector especially has shown recovery in the fourth quarter, recording growth of 6.9 per cent in the January-to-March period.