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GDP numbers highly suspect, Govt misleading public: Cong

NEW DELHI, Mar 1:
The Congress today dubbed the GDP numbers as “surprising” and “highly suspect” that could dent India’s global credibility and accused the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister of “misleading” the public.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the GDP numbers released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) are “misleading” as these do not factor in the adverse impact of demonetisation, including losses in jobs and production.
“The GDP numbers that have been released are surprising and highly suspect. The GDP growth as projected is questionable and will also undermine the crediblity of Indian data globally,” he said.
Asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley not to “mislead” the public and address the real issues instead, the senior Congress leader said the government “propagandists” should refrain from “premature celebrations and misplaced euphoria”.
“The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister remain in denial in furtherance of their narrow political agenda for short-term benefits and are not addressing the real issues.
“The Government, the prime minister and the finance minister are guilty of misleading the people by ignoring the sufferings inflicted on the poor, especially the farm labour, the factory workers and the daily wage earners due to their ‘reckless’ decision,” he said.
Sharma said as per its own admission, the CSO has stated that it has not been able to collate the data of impact of demonetisation, including the losses in jobs and production especially in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
“Therefore, the GDP numbers, ignoring the harsh ground realities and based on increase in revenue from indirect taxes, are artificial and highly misleading,” he said.
He said institutions monitoring the Indian exconomy and analyists have pegged the loss to the economy at Rs 2.50 lakh crore post demonetisation.
Sharma said economic parameters are looking down and job losses are mounting, so there cannot be a high economic growth in this backdrop.
The grim reality, he said, will come to the fore when the real data of unorganised sector and the incumbent job losses is captured and the true picture will emerge by the middle of the year by the time Q-4 numbers come out.
Sharma said the projected growth far exceeds the earlier estimates and projections of the Reserve Bank of India and the Economic Survey.
It also overshoots the projections of the global monetary institutions including the IMF and the analysis of all economists of repute in India and the world, he said.
The Government, he said, needs to be reminded of the fact that all key parameters of the economy are deep in the red. Industrial credit offtake is lowest in decades, gross fixed capital formation has moved into the negative for the first time, investments have fallen into the negative terrain and one-third of existing industrial capacity is unutilised, he said.
The Congress leader noted that the GDP numbers have not factored in the adverse impact of demonetisation, including millions of job losses and the shut down of factories especially in the MSME sector.
He said the fact is that the unorganised and MSME sectors which account for 50 per cent of the production and 40 per cent exports have been the worst hit.
The Government has pegged the GDP growth at a higher-than- expected 7.1 per cent for the current fiscal despite note ban, saying the agriculture sector is doing exceptionally well and helping India retain the tag of the world’s fastest growing major economy.
The CSO put the growth rate for October-December — the quarter in which the government banned 86 per cent of the currency in circulation — at 7 per cent, compared to 7.4 per cent in the second quarter and 7.2 per cent in the first quarter.
The growth rate was on a higher base after the CSO revised 2015-16 GDP growth rate to 7.9 per cent from the earlier provisional estimate of 7.6 per cent.
India’s growth was higher than that of China’s 6.8 per cent for the October-December period of 2016. (PTI)

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