New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday said the Economic Survey is laced with "excuses of non-performance" as it blames Covid, Russia-Ukraine war and global slowdown for price rise and India's falling GDP, but offers no solutions.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the government is always making tall claims of achieving 8 per cent or 10 per cent growth but has failed to achieve it. Hence, it is all "lies", he said.
According to the Economic Survey tabled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament earlier on Tuesday, India's economy is projected to slow down to 6-6.8 per cent in the fiscal year starting April as extraordinary challenges facing the globe will likely hurt exports.
It will, however, still remain the fastest growing major economy in the world.
"Whatever they (government) have said in the Economic Survey or in their budget speeches, more or less they have failed to achieve that. Therefore, it is all lies," Kharge told PTI.
The money of LIC, SBI and other national banks is at risk, he said, adding that fugitives have run away with Rs 13 lakh crore and the Modi government is claiming to have brought down corruption.
The government is claiming to have reduced poverty, but last year's figures show that 23 crore people were pushed below the poverty line, the Congress president claimed.
Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said, "The entire Economic Survey is laced with excuses of non-performance." "No succour to common people, Blame Covid, Blame Ukraine-Russia war for Price Rise, Blame global slowdown to India's falling GDP! Modi Government's Economic Survey is just an excuse script for Tomorrow's Budget," Surjewala said in a series of tweets.
Starting with the pandemic-induced contraction of the global output, the Russian-Ukraine conflict last year led to a worldwide surge in inflation. And then, central banks across economies led by the US Federal Reserve responded with synchronised policy rate hikes to curb inflation, the Economic Survey said.
The rate hike by the US Fed drove capital into the US markets causing the US dollar to appreciate against most currencies. This led to the widening of the Current Account Deficits (CAD) and increased inflationary pressures in net importing economies like India, it said.
Surjewala said the four drivers of the economy -- consumption, exports, manufacturing and private investment, and capex -- remain largely unaddressed.
"Bluster and lofty words of 'all is well' won't make an 'unwell economy' well. Under Modi government, the GDP Growth was sliding for 8 quarters before COVID hit us," he said, adding that India's first Covid case was recorded in January 2020 when the GDP growth in 2019-20 was just 3.7 per cent.
Surjewala alleged that despite a change in methodology and the base year by the Modi government, the average growth in eight years is just 5.38 per cent, against the UPA's 7.68 per cent, the highest since independence.
Former finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Economic Survey seems to have been "authored by someone who is navigating the journey looking only at the rear view mirror" as it offers no solutions.
"The navigator (CEA) should have looked at the path ahead through the windshield and cautioned the driver (FM) on the pitfalls and how to negotiate them," Chidambaram said on Twitter.
The Econmic Survey lists all the warning signals but does not list the options available to the government to avert those dangers, he noted.
"There is insufficient acknowledgement of three stark facts: that world growth and world trade will slow down in 2023-24; that many advanced economies will go into a recession; and that the global security situation will deteriorate.
"If all three materialise, the Economic Survey is silent about how to manage the Indian economy. I wish the CEA had stepped outside North Block and taken an objective view of the economic situation," he added.
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said the sub-6.5 per cent GDP growth rate is the new normal under the Modi government.
He said the Economic Survey of 2022 predicted that the Indian economy would grow at 8-8.5 per cent in 2022-23, but the actual growth was around 7 per cent.
The Economic Survey of 2023 pegs the GDP growth rate for 2023-24 at 6-6.8 per cent, but the IMF has predicted that the Indian economy would grow at 6.1 per cent in 2023.
"So, 6.1 per cent GDP growth is the new normal. At this growth, we will achieve GDP of USD 5 Trillion by 2029. The promise was for 2024," Vallabh said.
He also said there are no "achhe din" for rupee and the fiscal deficit will increase.
Sitharaman will on Wednesday present her fifth straight Budget.