about 3 years ago
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By Ruma Dubey

It’s a good thing that Modi came out yesterday and did what he does best – talk eloquently about the rights and the wrongs. For the first time, he accepted that the economic growth has slowed but tried to assuage fears that it was all blown out of proportion and all was well.

Here is a quick look at some of the best sound bytes (in writing of course!):

“In the past few days the criticism that we have received, we don’t take it in a bad way. We are a sensitive government. We accept the constructive criticism with all our hearts and make sure that we consider it with modesty and work on improving the economy. The whole world is talking about India.”

Now that’s a little hard to believe as in the past 3 years, it has become extremely difficult to criticize; freedom of speech is on the wane. So taking it “constructively;” yeh baat kuch hazam nahi hue!

One should restrain from creating an environment of panic in the nation. We have started walking towards development of new India, new culture, new celebration and new traditions.”

There is most certainly a wave of hope and all feel that old things will change which is why we need to have the patience; three years is too short a time. But unless jobs are created and private capex increases, this sense of hope could diminish soon. When optimism starts hurting the pocket, people will cry.

“When the data are favourable, it is the same people who like that institute and process but the moment this data are beyond their imagination, they say the system is not right, the process is not right, people working in it are not right and just accuse people.”

This is human nature; if BJP had been in the opposition they would have done the same. And talking about slowdown in growth by ex-finance ministers is not mere talking in the air.

“The government is committed to reverse that and we are ready to take the decisions. The nation’s financial stability too has to be maintained and we will keep taking steps to improve the economy.”

That is indeed assuring and one hopes the Govt does give impetus to the private sector capex, creates jobs without throwing the fiscal deficit into further jeopardy. We need to do what is needed for the economy and not what will win votes; thus it has to be economics over politics.

“I have asked the GST council to review the problems being faced by traders, issues in technology or filling the forms.”

It is good that Modi himself clarified this and we hope that confusion over GST does get cleared up; today this is affecting order intakes.

“After demonetisation, the cash to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has come down to 9%, which before November 8, 2016, was 12%.”

Kudos to that! Hopefully the realty sector will learn to work without cash.

“If we see two years prior to 2014, meaning if we see 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 then the average was around 6%, now the GDP data of these years and the GDP data of the last three years of the previous government before that have been the same. The institute has been the same, the process has been the same and that’s why comparing it is normal.”

No one is questioning the leadership at the helm; not yet. But fast action is required to restore some of the faltering faith. The upheavals caused due to GST will subside and it is for the longer good but at this stage, if more reforms do not come in the staggering growth story could get worse. Some bold moves to improve banking, where 12% of loans have gone bad, is urgently needed. We seriously do not see the benefit which demonetization brought in because people are back to cash; in fact more cash to avoid paying the higher GST.

According to the CMIE, over 1.5 million Indians lost their jobs in the first half of 2017. Thus creating jobs needs to be done on a war footing; please, let us look beyond beer and beef!

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