The country’s economic growth rate is so slow that even Bangladesh has a higher GDP while China had already surpassed us, said state finance and industry minister Amit Mitra at Nabanna today.

“We are now facing the worst situation with not only inflation on one side or stagnation on the other but both of them together. We have a sort of “stagflation” situation wherein the inflation rate is high, unemployment is the highest in 45 years and GDP is very low,” Mr Mitra said.

Mr Mitra blamed the Centre for its failed policies including demonetisation, which is one of the prime reasons behind the economic slowdown. “Demonetisation was a shock. Within seven weeks, before the shock could be absorbed, came another shock ~ the unprepared GST. Prior to demonetisation our GDP growth was 8.1 per cent and now it has dipped to 5 per cent.

The growth rates of both China and Bangladesh are higher than India. While China had already surpassed India in the growth rate, it is now Bangladesh which has recorded a higher growth rate” said Mr Mitra. Deliberating on the low economic growth of the country, Mr Mitra said that eight core sectors ~ steel, cement, electricity, coal, crude oil, refinery products, fertilisers and natural gas ~ recorded negative 5.8 per cent growth rate in October.

There has been a dip in export and the total investment has plummeted, he added. Mr Mitra also slammed the Centre over unpaid GST dues and said that Bengal is not getting paid the compensation and this is a violation of constitutional provisions. The state government had approached the Centre several times to clear the pending GST dues.

Mr Mitra held a pre-budget discussion with chambers of commerce and trade bodies at Nabanna Sabhaghar to get feedback from the business side. “Today we had a very fruitful discussion with representatives of the various chambers and trade associations to know about their expectations from the state budget,” he said.

Mr Mitra said that the chambers and the trade bodies had given their views to the government on the budget. The state government would weigh all the pros and cons before incorporating their views in the budget, he added.