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Eco Survey completely disconnected with problems faced by common man: Congress


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Congress on Friday hit out at the government on the Economic Survey, saying it is "completely disconnected" with the reality as the country is facing difficult times on the economic front and it is not bothered about the problems faced by the common man.
Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda also attacked the government on its "thalinomics" concept given by Finance Ministry's Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy V Subramanian.
He also accused the government of "fudging data" and committing a "fraud" as the numbers presented by it are not believable by the world.
"Thanks to monumental mismanagement by the Modi government, the Indian economy is going through very difficult times. Yet the Economic Survey (ESI) 2019-20 released today is completely disconnected from this grim reality. But this is not surprising as all of the Modi government's chief economic advisers have ignored the ground realities in all these years," Gowda said.
He said the CEA begins economic survey by singing the praises of wealth, drawing more upon historical references than economic theory.
He added that there was lack of attention to inequality in the survey, in which there is no prescription to revive demand, boost investment and create jobs.
"It is important to stop dwelling in an imaginary past and to pay attention to the realities of India's economy in the last 100 years," he said.
Taking a swipe at 'Thalinomics' concept, he said, "'Thali' will soon be 'Khali'".
"Thalinomics is another obfuscation. The claims of affordable thalis are misleading especially after the NSS consumption survey pointed out how food consumption has reduced, we are facing fears of rising poverty and malnutrition. What we have are shrinking thalis," he said.
"The thalinomics sets stage for an attack on the poor of India," he said.
Gowda also said the growth projections are erroneous as projections of 6-6.5 pc made in this survey are not credible. "One look at last year's projections of 7pc growth versus the actual below 5pc reality tells us we need to be prepared for even worse fiscal year in FY 2021. Optimism is welcome but the Economic Survey needs to have realistic believable projections," he said.
He also noted that this survey certainly prepares the defence and ground for higher fiscal slippage in the budget on February 1 and a higher fiscal deficit.
The Congress leader also said that the survey talks about shifting the focus to 'Assemble in India' as an alternative to 'Make in India'. "This is a clear admission of failure of the catchy slogan of 'Make in India'. This government did not bring in real reform on the ground to make manufacturing growth a reality, he said.
Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said the government has not taken any concrete steps to end tax terrorism. He said the government should have written a chapter in the economic survey on the noteban and wrong implementation of GST, then people would have understood the measures better.
Another spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the party would welcome any relief given to the income tax payees, but demanded more rationalisation of indirect taxes.
She said India has to grow at 9 per cent and investment rates have to be 38 per cent to achieve the USD 5-trillion economy dream to come true by 2024.
Shrinate said "tax terrorism" under this regime has peaked and there is a spike in trust deficit.
Gowda noted that Congress governments focused on growth and development steered by public sector spending and had built a strong, liberalised economy and that India's subsequent growth benefited from its policies. "Unfortunately, our efforts to catch up with the rest of the world has not been helped by Modi government's policies or by its CEA's Economic Surveys," he said.
"We find the CEA's inattention to distribution and inequality totally objectionable. Even now inequality is worsening. According to Oxfam's January, 2020 Report, India's richest one percent hold 42 percent of national wealth i.e. more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country's population," he said.
The Congress leader said the Economic Survey makes grand claims while the reality is that India has the worst economy in 42 years, unemployment is at a historic high and for the first time in four decades consumption has fallen, raising the fear of increasing poverty and malnutrition, with revenues are drying up drastically.
"The government has now resorted to spending slowdowns and delays in transferring the states' share in the GST. Yet, the Economy Survey will not tell you this. The entire exercise is now of chicanery and obfuscation," he said.
Gowda said India is amidst an unprecedented demand slump one way to revv up this is through cash transfers to the poorest and by raising incomes of the worst affected by the misadventures of the Modi government.
"We need to put money back in the hands of our farmers, agricultural labourers, urban poor, and middle classes. What is the government's plan of action on this front? You will not find a clue in the Economic Survey," he noted.
He said investments remain tepid despite the announcement of the 100 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline, which should actually be renamed 'National Infrastructure Pipedream'.
The Survey, he said, talks about trust which is completely lacking in the present regime. Tax terrorism has peaked, industry is fearful, well-meaning voices have been, he said.

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First Published: Jan 31 2020 | 8:10 PM IST

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