Time for contrition, change of approach, not boasts: Chidambaram

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Senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday advised the government that it was a “time for contrition and change of approach, not for boasts” as he said the Economic Suvey 2021-22 shows the economy is the same place as it was at the end of FY2020 while people have suffered majorly.

“The Economic Survey repeats ad nauseum that at the end of 2021-22, the economy would have recovered to the pre-pandemic level (2019-20). In plain language, it means that on March 31, 2022, the GDP will be at the same level as it was on March 31, 3020.

“It means that it has taken two years to go back to where we were on March 31, 2020. The two years have impoverished people, millions of jobs have been lost, 84 per cent households have suffered loss of income, 4.6 crore have been pushed into poverty, India ranks 104 out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index,” he said in a statement after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2021-22 in Parliament on Monday, the first day of the Budget Session.

“This is a time for contrition and change (of approach), not for boasts and no change,” he added .

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “Self-serving cheerful assessment of economy raises doubts about what the Budget is set out to achieve – which should be to stimulate the ailing economy, revive sectors, boost consumption, encourage investment & create jobs – none of which the survey insists is a problem at all!”

He said the Economic Survey is a classic case of “what statistics say” versus “what they actually reveal”.

“It clearly reveals ‘Intrinsic Weakness of the Economy’ and the ‘Gross Economic Mismanagement’ by the Modi Government. Growth Numbers reveal that even in FY2021-22, economy will be of the same size as in FY2019-20,” he said, adding that the government should be ashamed of the economic ruin caused by misplaced priorities.

Surjewala noted that private final consumption expenditure per capita is still 5 per cent less than the 2019-20 level (pre-Covid). “For 8-8.5 per cent GDP growth, we require investment to GDP ratio of 38.25 per cent. But who will invest when demand isn’t picking up in economy?” he asked

“Is 8-8.5% GDP growth for FY 23 another Jumla!”

He claimed that the total debt of the Centre which was Rs 53 lakh crore in March 2014 would blow up to Rs 136 lakh crore by March 2022.”

“If revenue expectations are too good and on target as reflected in Survey, why will each Indian owe Rs 1 Lakh by March 2022, a loan they have never taken!”

He said the Economic Survey 2022 fails to assess the brutal impact of high prices on Indians – with massive job losses and erosion of incomes and ignores the divide – as income of richest Indians increased by Rs 13 lakh crore, the poorest 15 crore households have seen income reduction of 53 per cent.-

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