Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday presented a bizarre logic to support the government's claim that the economy is doing well. In Mumbai to campaign for the BJP in the coming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Mr Prasad argued that the box office performance of three Bollywood movies presented a rather different picture of the economy than claimed by most financial experts.
"I was also told that on October 2, which is observed as one of the national holidays, three Hindi movies garnered Rs 120 crore business on that day. Unless the economy is sound in the country how can only three movies collected so much business in a single day?" the minister was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
"Electronic manufacturing, Information and Technology sector, Mudra loan, commerce services are performing very well. We never said that we will give government jobs to everyone... There are some people who have organised against the government and misleading people over unemployment," Mr Prasad said weeks after the economic growth dipped to a five-year low.
Recently, the International Monetary Fund said the worldwide economic slowdown is more pronounced this year in India and Brazil. Pointing to the two nations, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said 90 per cent of the world is likely to have slower growth in 2019.
Asked to comment on her statement, Mr Prasad said, "The measurement of IMF about India is still incomplete. And do not forget, India was on the 11th position when Manmohan Singh was in power; today it is the fifth largest. We have surpassed even France".
Earlier this year, an unreleased report of the periodic labour force survey of the National Sample Survey Office also indicated that employment figures are at a 45-year low, standing at 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, the Business Standard newspaper reported. It had stated that the rate of joblessness was this high in 1972-73. In 2011-12, the figure was 2.2 per cent, it said.
Over the subsequent months, infrastructure sectors had slowed and the automobile sector had gone into a meltdown. In September the passenger vehicle sales slumped 23.7 per cent, the eleventh straight month of decline. Car and auto component makers have cut thousands of jobs and halted some production.