Former finance minister P Chidambaram has sharply attacked the government's move to revise growth figures for two years, including the current one, questioning how growth can be robust when unemployment figures are at their highest in 45 years. He also ridiculed the revised growth figures of 2016-17 -- which showed it to be the best year under the Narendra Modi government -- suggesting if that was the case, "let's have another round of demonetisation.
The data, released a day before the budget, indicated that the highest growth rate during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government was recorded at 8.2 per cent in financial year 2016-17 - the year demonetisation was announced.
The government also revised its estimated GDP growth for financial year 2017-18, which pushed it up from 6.7 per cent to 7.2 per cent.
In a series of tweets, Mr Chidambaram took apart the government, quoting Rajiv Kumar, the Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog.
Modi Government revises GDP growth figures upward. What government did not realise was that unemployment figure was also revised upwards!— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 1, 2019
NITI Aayog vice-chairman asked 'How can a country grow at an average of 7% without employment?' That is exactly our question. With unemployment at a— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 1, 2019
45-year high, how can we believe that the economy is growing at 7 per cent?
His third tweet, ridiculing the government, read: "The demonetisation year was the best year of growth (8.2%) under Mr Modi. So, let's have another round of demonetisation. This time let's demonetise 100 rupee notes."
The government has said it has not finalised the survey on labour force, which, a report said, had reached a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.
The Business Standard newspaper has reported that the Periodic Labour Force Survey by the National Sample Survey Office states that unemployment was last this high in 1972-73. The unemployment rate was 2.2 per cent in 2011-12, reported .
Hours later, at a hastily called press conference, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said the report cited by the newspaper was just a "draft report". Mr Kumar had earlier defended the revision of UPA-era GDP growth rates, which pushed them down.
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