Millennium Post

Bengal leading in GDP growth rate while country suffers deep recession: Amit Mitra

Kolkata: State Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra on Saturday slammed the Narendra Modi government at the Centre holding it responsible for pushing the Indian economy in a state of deep recession with unemployment rate reaching its pinnacle in the last 45 years. The minister also pointed out a contrast picture of Bengal where the GDP growth (12.58 percent) has been among the highest compared to other states in the country.

"India is going through deep recession and the unemployment rate has reached its 45 year high at 6.1 percent in 2018-19. There is hardly any job opportunities in the country especially for the young generation. However, the Centre is mum and is in a state of deep policy paralysis. The GDP growth that has fallen to 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018-19 is the lowest growth rate in the last five years (between 2014-15 and 2018-19) which is a clear pointer that the common people are under tremendous stress," Mitra said during a press conference at Nabanna.

According to him, the Centre's investments in new projects have plunged to 15 years low in the quarter ending June 2019. "New projects announced in June quarter 2019 is 81 percent lower than what was announced in March quarter 2019 and 87 percent lower than the same period a year back," he added.

Mitra reiterated that as per figures released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation for the fiscal 2018-19 Bengal has been able to register a GDP growth of 12.58 — the highest in the country and is among the four states that have managed a GDP growth of over 10 percent.

Bengal is followed by Andhra Pradesh which has recorded GDP growth of 11.02, Bihar with 10.53 and Telangana 10.5 percent respectively. Goa is at the bottom of the list with 0.47 percent growth rate, he said.

"We are holding the baton and moving forward while the rest of the country is going through serious recession," Mitra added.

"The dismal economic state of the country is reflected through a number of parameters — the industrial output growth had fallen to 2 percent in June 2019 which was 7 percent in June 2018, the industrial production had plunged to 1.2 percent in this June from 6.9 percent last year, the capital goods sector growth is at a negative 6.5 percent in June from 9.7 percent last year (June), the manufacturing growth has fallen to 1.2 percent this June against 6.9 percent in June last year," the minister added.

He also alleged that at a time when the country's economy is in doldrums the industrialists are being threatened of arrest.

A sense of fear has gripped the industrialists with the arrest clause being included in the law. "They are arresting those who cannot spend 2 percent of CSR. The corporate now have started speaking up about the threats. They are becoming NRIs with the fear psychosis forcing them to leave India and shift base," Mitra asserted.

The minister also pointed out that the FDI, which the Central government often boasts of, is having a negative growth of 1.09 percent in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. "All the major players in the automobile sector are witnessing a reasonable decline in sales which is contributing to job losses. This sector employs 3.5 crore people directly and indirectly and they are in serious trouble," he added.

He even slammed the Centre for being in denial mode about these issues of the masses. "They should consult the states and take the opinion of the political parties to come out with a solution," Mitra maintained.

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