Describing the Economic Survey as a “a depressing report of the current fiscal year”, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, on Monday said that the survey was an admission by the government that it has failed to address the challenges in education, employment and agriculture.
‘After nearly four years in office, the NDA government has admitted that it has failed to address the challenges in education, employment and agriculture and hopes to do so in the last year of its 5-year term.
The conclusion on the state of agriculture is depressing. After four years, “the level of real agricultural growth and real agricultural revenues has remained constant.” It is clear that Agriculture has been left in the lurch,’ Mr Chidambaram said in a statement.
Noting that the survey presents a ‘uncertain’ outlook for the future for the economy in the near future, Mr Chidambaram said, ‘the Survey admits that the major programmes undertaken by the government (toilets, Jan Dhan accounts, LPG connections and village electrification) have not resulted in tangible outcomes.
It is an indictment of the policies and their execution. Also, the future course of the economy is conditional on many ifs. After listing the unfinished work (and there are many), the Survey seems to prepare the grounds for failure by praying that the world economy maintains its growth momentum and oil prices do not persist at current levels. The outlook is therefore uncertain, if not bleak.’
He said that the Survey admits to the vulnerabilities in the area of controlling the fiscal deficit and current account deficit and hinted at slower consolidation.
‘The Survey admits to the two underlying macroeconomic vulnerabilities — fiscal deficit and current account deficit and hints at slower consolidation. This admission belies the government’s claim of ‘sound macroeconomic fundamentals’,’he said.
Mr Chidambaram said that though the the Survey claimed that the growth rate for 2017-18 will be 6.75 per cent (implying a second half growth rate of 7.5 per cent), it offered little evidence in support of this claim.
‘The growth rate in the first half was 6 per cent, and the year is likely to end with a growth rate of between 6 and 6.5 per cent.,’he said.
Mr Chidambaram said that the survey was an admission that the government has ‘thrown in the towel’ as far as economic growth is concerned.
‘The Survey has thrown the burden on private investments and exports. It is obvious that the government has thrown in the towel and hopes that the private sector will come to the rescue of the economy! There is not much gas left in the government. Altogether, it is a depressing report of the fiscal year that will come to an end in two months,’he said.