Low GDP not for the first time, economy to bounce back: PM Modi


New Delhi, Dec 20, 2019:

Noting that the economy has gone through ups and downs in the past too, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday cited macro economic data from previous governments to suggest that the economy would bounce back again with much vigour and strength.

Speaking at the centenary event of industry chamber Assocham, Modi said that GDP growth in one of the quarters in previous government had plummeted to 3.5 per cent and other macro indicators were equally disappointing.

The Prime Minister said that he does not want to get into the debate as to why certain people remained silent then, adding that the economy would come out of the current slowdown.

"In previous governments also, in one quarter the GDP growth had fallen to 3.5 per cent. During that time, where did CPI headline inflation reach? You would recall, it had reached 9.4 per cent. Where was CPI core inflation? It was 7.3 per cent. What was WPI inflation? It had reached 5.2 per cent. To what level did fiscal deficit reach? It was 5.6 per cent of GDP," the PM said.

"At that time, many quarters had gone like that which was very disappointing from the economy point of view. I do not want to get into the debate as to why some people were silent then," he added.

India's GDP fell over six-year low in July-September quarter of the current fiscal to 4.5 per cent, drawing flak from the opposition parties. Most high-frequency indicators such as core sector data, manufacturing growth and electricity generation have been discouraging.

Listing out achievements of his government over the past five years, Modi said a strong foundation has been laid and structural changes were made to ensure India becomes a $5 trillion economy. He said that his government did not only stop the economy from heading to disaster but also put it on the right track.

Further, several steps have been taken to make the banking system strong, robust and transparent. As a result, 13 banks have turned profitable after bleeding heavily due to bad loans.

The Prime Minister said that government would spend Rs 100 lakh crore in building infrastructure while Rs 25 lakh crore to give fillip to the rural economy. For "Har Jal Ghar", the government would spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore. Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, two crore new houses would be built.

Modi noted that foreign direct investment (FDI) had grown consistently in the last five years. In fact, he gave two definitions for FDI. One that is its usual one and the other 'first develop India'.

He mentioned that India's Ease of Doing Business ranking has rapidly improved and now stands at 63rd position from 142 earlier.

Addressing the captains of the industry at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital, Modi said that corporate tax was currently the lowest in the history of India and pointed out reforms in tax systems and Companies Act to make the regime industry-friendly and also competitive in the world.

He also called upon the industry to invest freely in the country, and don't worry about anything as no unjust action would be taken against companies. "Khul kar nivesh karein, paisa kharchein aur aage nivesh karein", he said.

He also told industry to strengthen wealth creation and job creation, the government is standing with them.