Economic Growth down but it’s not recession yet: Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha

Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday acknowledged that the economic growth may have slowed a bit but refused to call it a recession and then asserted that the country will never face recession.

“If you are looking at the economy with a discerning view, you see that growth may have come down but it is not a recession yet, it will not be a recession ever,” Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha in her reply to questions on the economic situation of the country.

“Thirty-two steps taken to revive growth in economy are bearing fruits,” she said.

Reporters in Parliament observed that Members of Parliament and Ministers were found sleeping during the debate on the economic slowdown in the Rajya Sabha.

Sitharaman pointed out that country’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was at 6.4 per cent at the end of 2009-2014, but rose to 7.5 per cent between 2014 and 2019.

There was a sequence to the events, as one MP started dozing while the Finance Minister was speaking. A little bit more into the reply and a second MP was also spotted dozing. Thereafter, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur was spotted trying to wake up the MPs from their slumber.

Dissatisfied with her response, Opposition MPs walked out of the Rajya Sabha during her reply.

India’s GDP decelerated to the slowest pace in 25 quarters in the June quarter, growing by only 5% as a downturn in household consumption took its toll on key sectors. It marked the fifth straight quarterly decline in growth — the first time since June 1997 that such a prolonged slump has been recorded.

The government has at various times referred to the state of the economy as a passing phase and has pointed out that India remains the fastest economy in the world.The country’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has contracted for two consecutive months now. Annual contraction in IIP was 1.4% in August and 4.3% in September. For the quarter ending September, IIP has contracted by 0.4% on an annual basis.

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