The Narendra Modi government is in hot water. First, it was senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha who launched a scathing attack on the government’s economic policies and then, later in the day, opposition leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram capitalising on the former’s criticism.
After Yaswant Sinha wrote an article in The Indian Express attacking the government on demonetisation, which according to him proved to be an “unmitigated economic disaster”, and the implementation of the GST which was “badly conceived and poorly implemented” havoc, P Chidambaram also took a pot-shot at the government asking the government to admit to shrinking economy.
P Chidambaram tweeted: “Yashwant Sinha speaks Truth to Power. Will Power now admit the Truth that economy is sinking?” The attack on the Modi government for “terrible mismanagement of economy” did not stop on the micro-blogging site. P Chidamabaram addressed a press conference listing economic problems which the country is facing.
“Private investments are dwindling and exports are on a steady decline over the past three years,” P Chidamabaram said. Calling the GST implementation “terrible and ill-conceived”, he said its flawed design is hurting the small and medium enterprises. “Small and medium enterprises are facing a cash crunch and working capital issues after the GST switch,” he said.
He said when the government projected India as the fastest growing economy, it was a “bluff” that was has been called. “Growth below 8% indicates struggle to find replacement jobs. All indicators suggested that growth was below 6%,” P Chidamabaram said. He further said that the Congress is opposed to the breach of fiscal deficit target, and will speak boldly aginst it.
Interestingly, Yashwant Sinha is not the first BJP leader, and P Chidambaram is not the first Congress leader to target government over the slow economic growth. Earlier this month, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy warned the government saying that the Indian economy was headed for a “major depression” and it could “crash” soon if efforts were not put to revive it.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also hit out at the government recently on the GDP growth, saying hasty implementation of the GST and the withdrawal of 86% of currency during the demonetisation exercise will further affect the GDP numbers.
The GDP for the first quarter (April-June) of the financial year 2017-18 slumped to a three-year low at 5.7%, far lower than 7.9% recorded in the same quarter last year.