While PM Modi lectures on 'revdis', his govt's fiscal deficit ballooned by 20% over past years: Congress

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference, at AICC Headquarter in New Delhi on Wednesday, September 06, 2023. (Photo: IANS/Anupam Gautam)

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference, at AICC Headquarter in New Delhi on Wednesday, September 06, 2023. (Photo: IANS/Anupam Gautam)

New Delhi, October 25 (IANS): Congress on Wednesday castigated the Centre over the latest RBI bulletin for October 2023, saying it shows "extremely concerning" economic trends and demonstrates the Narendra Modi government's continuing "mismanagement" of India’s economy.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi lectures others on ‘revdis’ (freebies), his government’s fiscal deficit is ballooning as it has grown by almost 20 per cent over the past year, to over Rs 6.4 lakh crore in Q1 of 2023-24, it added.

In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh flayed the government saying that the RBI bulletin of October 2023 shows extremely concerning economic trends and demonstrates the Modi government's "continuing mismanagement" of India's economy.

Recalling the September 2023 bulletin, he said a range of negative indicators were revealed, including a 47-year low in the savings growth rate, a stagnation of domestic credit to the private sector, and a flat labour-force participation rate.

He further said that these trends either remain or have worsened.

"A major reason for the low net savings growth is that there was a huge spike in household liabilities. Despite the Finance Ministry’s misleading claim that this spike is due to home and vehicle loans, the September bulletin had clearly shown there was a 23 per cent spike in gold loans and a 29 per cent spike in personal loans," Ramesh, who is also party’s communication in charge, said.

He said that the October RBI bulletin confirms the fact that personal loans were the single largest contributor to bank credit growth in August 2023, and grew at a massive 23 per cent, while gold loans grew at 22 per cent.

"In fact, for the past 15 months, non-housing personal loans have been growing at over 20 per cent — something that has never happened in at least 15 years," he said.

He also said that, meanwhile, credit growth to the industrial sector, which is essential for investment and economic growth, is slowing down.

"It was just 6.1 per cent year-on-year in August 2023, almost half of what it was last year and only one-third the level in 2013.

"Meanwhile, the share of bank credit to industry has been cut in half by the Modi government — from 46 per cent of non-food credit in 2013, to just 24 per cent in 2023," he said.

Slamming the government over the issue of inflation, the Congress Rajya Sabha member said, "Inflation remains out of control at 6.8 per cent, way above the RBI's target of 4 per cent. The RBI raised the issue of ‘sustained inflationary pressures in cereals, pulses, and spices'.

"The vast majority of Indians continue to face the pressure of price rise on their incomes, finding it difficult to meet basic food, education and other necessities."

Blasting the Prime Minister he said, "While the Prime Minister lectures others on 'revdis' and fiscal responsibility, the Modi government's fiscal deficit is ballooning. It has grown by almost 20% over the past year, to over Rs. 6.4 lakh crore in Q1 of 2023-24."

"The Modi government is incurring debts that will weigh India down in the future, and to show a smaller deficit, is violating all principles of federalism by reducing tax transfers to states," he added.

He also said that the failure of 'Make in India' and the ineffectiveness of the PLI schemes is evident in the sluggish export growth in this quarter, at less than 4 per cent.

The worst-hit by the export slump are MSMEs, who face lower profits and higher costs. "This is not a new trend — while from 2004-2014 exports grew at an average of 14 per cent per year, under the Modi government export growth has more than halved, at only 6 per cent. Each month's RBI Bulletin should serve as a reminder to the Modi government that as much as it tries to hide data and mislead the public, the basic facts do not lie — the economy has been completely mismanaged and the vast majority of Indians are suffering," Ramesh added.

The Congress has been critical of the government over the country's economy.