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The Congress today sought to deflate Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim of 7 per cent GDP growth, saying the country's economy is stagnant with no investments coming in. Quoting official figures, Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said bank credit growth is lowest in 60 years and power plants are functioning at 60 per cent capacity - lowest in last 15 years, which shows that the Indian economy is not taking off and the government needs to take this challenge seriously. "The prime minister may claim that GDP is growing at 7 per cent, but indicators show a stagnant economy. The rise in growth is not visible and resultantly investments coming into the country are stagnant. "The condition of the economy is a matter of serious concern and the government must look into the challenges faced by the economy," he said. Ramesh said if there are no investments, the employment opportunities are not there. This, he said, is the biggest challenge before this government. He, however, lamented that the prime minister and finance minister have no reply to offer on this, both outside and inside Parliament. "Everything is not well and things are deteriorating and there is no improvement in the Indian economy," he said. Taking a dig at Modi, Ramesh said if the offtake is not there, the economy will take off.
He also recalled how prime minister talked of "not cashless, but less-cash" while talking of promoting digital transactions. "If offtake is not there, there will be no takeoff. There is no offtake of power and bank credit when the PM talks of takeoff," he said. The Congress leader said employment opportunities in the country stands at a new low, with only 4.4 lakh new jobs being generated in the organised sector during the first two years of the Modi government. This, in comparison, is far less than 21 lakh jobs generated during the first two years of UPA-2 government, he said, adding "We created five times more jobs". Citing the RBI data for 2016-17, he said it shows that bank credit has grown at 5 per cent, the slowest rate in the last 60 years. Similarly, he said, the Power Ministry data shows that in 2016-17 there is lowest plant load factor in 15 years and said they are on an average generating power at 60 per cent of their installed capacity. "These two data shows that prime minister's words that Indian economy is taking off is absolutely wrong," he said. "No point of the Prime Minister and Finance Minister taking refuge in figures of GDP of 7-7.5 per cent which is meaningless and frankly the world does not believe in India's GDP numbers," he said. Ramesh said the Congress party will take this message to the people across the country that all is not well with the country's economy under the present government despite the tall claims made by the prime minister and the finance minister. Asked why this message is not going across to people as had been shown in repeated Congress defeats, the Congress spokesperson said it takes time for the public to realise that there is no pension, no food, no employment under MGNREGA. He cited the example of Rajasthan where 30 per cent of those entitled for wheat rations are not getting wheat as aadhar card had been made mandatory there. "It will take time for this message to reach people, for the false claims made by the government to be understood in totality. "People are already beginning to feel that there is already no improvement and there is an atmosphere of enormous fear is prevailing in the country. People are not speaking as freely now as they were speaking 4-5 years ago," he said.