Economic Slowdown a Man-Made Catastrophe: Chidambaram Slams Govt

Economic Slowdown a Man-Made Catastrophe: Chidambaram Slams Govt

Politics

A day after being granted bail by Supreme Court in INX Media money laundering case, former finance minister P Chidambaram, on Thursday, 5 December, attacked the government over the state of economy saying that the economic slowdown is a “man-made catastrophe” brought about by decisions like demonetisation and flawed implementation of GST.

He also said that the country would be “lucky” to hit a growth rate of 5 percent in this fiscal year.

“We will be lucky to end the year if growth touches 5 percent. Please remember Dr Arvind Subramanian’s caution that 5 percent under this government, because of suspect methodology, is not really 5 percent but less by about 1.5 percent,” he said.
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Chidambaram began the briefing by saying that the 106 days in custody have made him stronger. He said that upon stepping out of the jail, his thoughts went out to the people of Kashmir.

“As I stepped out and breathed the air of freedom at 8 pm last night, my first thought and prayers were for the 75 lakh people of the Kashmir Valley, who have been denied their basic freedoms since 4 August,” he said.

He then went on to list out a series of indicators highlighting the poor state of economy.

He also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he has been “unusually silent” on matters related to economy and the other ministers in the Cabinet have indulged in “bluff and bluster.”

“The net result, as The Economist put it, is that the government has turned out to be an incompetent manager of the economy,” he said.

He said that the government has been ‘stubborn, clueless and mulish’ and is wrong to say that the slowdown is a cyclical one, seven months into the current fiscal.

The former finance minister also commented upon the recent remark made by industrialist Rahul Bajaj saying that everyone is “gripped with fear.”

Chidambaram, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, also attended the Winter Session of Parliament earlier during the day.

The 74-year-old stepped out of gate number 3 of the prison on Wednesday to a rapturous welcome by hundreds of Congress supporters and his son Karti.

Chidambaram had been in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He had been lodged in Tihar jail since his dramatic arrest by CBI sleuths from his Jor Bagh residence in the national capital on the night of 21 August .

While the CBI is probing the corruption case linked to INX Media, the ED is investigating the money laundering case.

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Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

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