The government's handling of the economy is "a step above junk", Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning, citing credit ratings agency Moody's statement on Monday. The sharp attack in a tweet came when PM Modi was delivering his first major speech on the economy days after the centre announced a step-by-step plan to unlock India and recover losses amid the pandemic.
"Moody's has rated Modi's handling of India's economy a step above JUNK. Lack of support to the poor and the MSME sector means the worst is yet to come (sic)," the 49-year-old former Congress chief tweeted this morning.
On Monday, Moody's Investors Service downgraded India's sovereign credit rating for the first time in more than two decades, saying policymakers will be challenged to mitigate risks of low growth, deteriorating fiscal position and financial sector stress.
The credit rating agency estimated a decline in India's GDP by 4 per cent -- first full fiscal contraction in more than four decades -- as the country faces a prolonged period of slower growth.
It downgraded foreign-currency and local-currency long-term issuer rating, and local-currency senior unsecured rating to "Baa3" from "Baa2", and short-term local-currency rating to "P-3" from "P-2".
''Baa3'' is the lowest investment grade rating - just a notch above junk status.
While Mr Gandhi, Congress's MP from Kerala's Wayanad, targeted the government over poor support to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises or MSME sector, PM Modi today called them the "engines of India's growth".
"We are trying to maximize opportunities for the MSMEs. Lakhs of MSMEs in India are the engines of India's overall growth and they will be able to grow without any concerns or fears," PM Modi said while addressing the annual session of the top industrial body - the Confederation of Indian Industry or CII.
Last month, PM Modi had announced a fiscal stimulus of Rs 20 lakh crore as he gave a call for "Atma Nirbhar" or "Self-reliant" India.
On Monday, the cabinet cleared a Rs 20,000-crore debt scheme, which would help nearly 2 lakh MSMEs raise funds amid the stress of the lockdown. It also approved a Fund of Funds worth Rs 50,000 crore for MSMEs to encourage private sector investment in the sector.
This morning, PM Modi assured that India will certainly make an economic recovery soon and is already on the path to revival with "Unlock 1".
(With inputs from PTI)