Finance minister of state Anurag Thakur on Wednesday gave a befitting reply to the allegations made by former finance minister P Chidambaram and said he is not surprised that the former Congress leader chose to “ignore hard data and went ahead with whataboutery”. “Consistent reforms and strong fundamentals have ensured India had a swift rebound from a contraction of 24.4 % in the 1st quarter of FY 2020-21 to a growth of 1.6 per cent in the 4th quarter of FY 2020-21,” Thakur said.
“While you doubt the resilience of Indian entrepreneurs, small businesses, traders and MSMEs to revive themselves; various international agencies project India to grow by 12.5% in FY 2021-22 making us the only major economy to have a projected double-digit growth,” the minister said.
“Is the Indian economy an island in isolation; have other major economies not faced a GDP contraction? Are you not aware that France, Germany, Italy, UK contracted by 8.2%, 4.9%, 8.9% and 9.9% respectively? Canada, Russia, South Africa, USA too have seen a contraction in their GDP in the past year. Despite the disruptions in the globalised world, India has remained resilient,” he added.
“The NDA government procured 306.9 million tonnes of paddy and 162.7 million tonnes of wheat in last 5 years Vs the period 2009-13 during the UPA tenure wherein only 176.8 million tonnes of paddy and 139.5 million tonnes of wheat was procured,” he said.
“Modi government, by opening 42 crores Jan Dhan accounts, has stopped leakages in the system ensuring every rupee reaches its intended beneficiary swiftly; even during the Covid-19 pandemic through Direct Bank Transfers. This has provided financial empowerment to millions,” he said.
A day after the official data was released–that recorded India’s GDP at negative 7.3% in FY20–the former finance minister P Chidambaram had made a case for the government to “not lose another year” or “worry about the fiscal deficit” and advised the Modi government to “act boldly and spend”. He said borrow or print money, but spend. He had also said the current Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman “saw green shoots” that no one could see, and the much talked about V-shaped recovery of the Indian economy post the first wave of the coronavirus was “false”.
This provoked Anurag Thakur to say only an ostrich would deny the shape of the graph.