Congress leader P Chidambaram took a swipe at "the BJP's ideas of reform" this morning, a day after BJP MP Nishikant Dubey told the Lok Sabha "in future GDP will not be of much use as an economic indicator". In his tweet Mr Chidambaram, a former Finance Minister, appeared unimpressed by some of the central government's proposed economic reforms - such as an increase in import duties and reduction in personal tax - and said: "God save India's economy".
On Monday, three days after government data showed India's gross domestic product (GDP) had slowed to 4.5 per cent in the July-September period, the BJP's Nishikant Dubey said in parliament that GDP would soon stop being relevant. Mr Dubey claimed that because the economic indicator had not existed before 1934 it was not an "ultimate truth".
In an indirect reference to Mr Dubey's statement, Mr Chidambaram, currently in Delhi's Tihar Jail over his alleged role in the INX Media, today tweeted: "GDP numbers are irrelevant, personal tax will be cut, import duties will be increased. These are BJP's ideas of reforms. God save India's economy".
GDP numbers are irrelevant, personal tax will be cut, import duties will be increased.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 3, 2019
These are BJP's ideas of reforms.
God save India's economy.
The Congress also took a dig at Nishikant Dubey with chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, writing on Twitter: "God save us from such novice economists of New India!"
Last month Mr Chidambaram hit out at the centre, which he said refused to accept criticism of its economic policies and agenda after preliminary data showed a dip in (primarily rural) consumer spending for the first time in four decades.
The GDP figures released last week - the worst in over six years - were hit by a combination of low manufacturing, agriculture and mining activity.
In October the centre said it was considering tax relief for individuals in a bid to accelerate consumer demand and boost economic growth. Any tinkering with tax slabs will be added to a string of measures taken by the Narendra Modi government to revive the stuttering economy. These include increasing import duties, something Mr Chidambaram referenced.
The Congress leader's tweet echoes remarks made by party colleague and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who last week said the state of the economy was "deeply worrying".
Mr Singh, a trained economist who is credited with opening the economy nearly three decades ago, said a GDP of 4.5 per cent was "unacceptable" for a country that aimed to grow at 8 per cent.
India lost its position as the world's fastest growing major economy last year. Global credit rating agency Moody's lowered its economic growth forecast for India to 5.6 per cent for the current financial year, dealing another blow to the government's target of making India a $5-trillion economy by 2024.