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Congress pulls up Govt over World Bank report on poverty

The World Bank projected a growth rate of 6.5 per cent for the Indian economy for the fiscal year 2022-23, a drop of one per cent from its previous June 2022 projections, citing the deteriorating international environment.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Congress, on Friday, attacked the government over a World Bank report that flagged the worsening of poverty numbers in India during the Covid pandemic and downgraded its economic growth forecast.

The World Bank on Thursday projected a growth rate of 6.5 per cent for the Indian economy for the fiscal year 2022-23, a drop of one per cent from its previous June 2022 projections, citing the deteriorating international environment.

 Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said a report by the World Bank last evening has red-flagged the fact that nearly 5.6 crore Indians have been pushed into extreme poverty during the Covid pandemic, Shrinate said.

Some economists believe that nearly 27 to 30 crore Indians were pushed into abject poverty during the Covid pandemic,”

She said the World Bank’s decision to reduce India’s estimated GDP growth rate for the third time this year is not in isolation, and Moody’s, Fitch, and Asian Development Bank, among many others, have similarly cut the forecast.

“Now, given the Modi government’s nature, it may be perceived as an international conspiracy against India and maybe the Enforcement Directorate will be unleashed against the World Bank as well,” Shrinate said.

She said Rupee has hit a historic low of 82.33 to a dollar, 100 billion dollars worth of forex reserves have been eroded since the beginning of this year, twin deficit problems of Current Account Deficit and Fiscal Deficit are looming large, the trade deficit has doubled over the one-year period, exports have dipped by nearly 3.5 per cent, FMCG sale has dipped by 10 per cent, this low consumption has slowed down investment further, MSMEs have shut down and unemployment is on the rise.

“All this topped by high prices impacts the poor the most. And given high inflation, RBI has raised rates four times – which will make EMIs higher and loans costlier,” she said.

Posing questions to Prime Minister Modi, Shrinate asked when crude oil has dipped from USD 116 per barrel to USD 91 per barrel, then why have petrol and diesel prices not been brought down.

“Why have CNG prices been hiked by Rs 6 and PNG by Rs 4? Does that not impact the poor,” she asked.

Fare prices have been increased for 130 trains, platform ticket prices have been increased by 200 per cent, she said, and asked whether that does not impact the poor.

“Prices of Atta and milk are on fire. Does that not impact the poor? India ranks 101 in a list of 116 nations,  Why are 80 crore people in a country of 135 crores helpless to take free ration? Who has brought them to this stage?” she said.