The state of the economy

As the ruling BJP gears up for the three State elections followed by the general election, the Government’s propaganda machinery has gone into an overdrive tell the people the supposed ‘successes’ of the Government. Optimistic GDP growth rate figures are being flaunted, without telling the people that the basis for calculation has been quietly changed so as to present a picture far from the truth. The grievous harm that demonetization has done to the economy is known to all but the spokesmen of the Government would never admit it. Now a leader of the ruling party, Subramanian Swamy, has let the cat out of the bag. He has revealed that the Government pressurized the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) to “dish out data to show that demonetization had no adverse impact on the economy.” Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has also exposed the statistical jugglery of the Government.
While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley continues to assure the people that there is nothing wrong with the economy and everything is lovely in the garden, the rupee continues to slump against the dollar while petrol and diesel prices continue to soar. The rupee touched a new low of 70.82 on Thursday while petrol price rose to Rs. 85.72 in Mumbai on the same day. The official explanation is that the fall in the value of the rupee has resulted in fuel price rise. But nobody has cared to explain why petrol and diesel prices were rising even when the international price of fuels was relatively stable. The Government can’t give the real reason: that the exorbitantly high duty on imported oil is the main reason for the high price.
The devaluation of the rupee has a cascading effect on the economy. Our imports become costlier and our exports cheaper. Our foreign debts rise while our forex reserves dwindle. The investment prospects deteriorate. The prospects of economic regeneration recede farther and farther. Job creation is virtually at a standstill. In most government offices, posts falling vacant due to transfer or retirement of the incumbents are not filled up. A visit to one’s nearest bank branch will reveal it. At the other end of the scale, the number of billionaires is rising, remittances to foreign banks are also rising. If this is achhe din, then the people will have to brace themselves for worse days ahead.

Friday, 31 August, 2018