Expressing concerns over the widening trade deficit, the Congress on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was responsible for creating "economic chaos" in the country. The Opposition party demanded his government take immediate steps to bring the economy back on track and check further price rise.
Congress spokesperson RPN Singh said the trade deficit was at a 3-year high with a slump in exports, adding that inflation, at a six-month peak, was affecting the common man hard. "India's trade deficit is at a 3-year high. Exports are plunging and 'Make in India' scheme has merely become a slogan. Will Modi ji answer?
The commerce ministry data released on Tuesday reported a 1.12 per cent decline in the overall export to $23 billion. The data shows 7.6 per cent growth in the trade deficit, which amounts to $37.11 billion in October from $34.5 billion in the year-ago period. After attaining six-month high growth in September, the trade deficit - difference between exports and imports - widened to $14 billion during the month under review as against $11.13 billion in October 2016. Due to less the demand of gold, 16 per cent drop - which amounted to $2.94 billion - was seen in October. The data shows oil and non-oil imports grew by 27.89 per cent and 2.19 per cent to $9.28 billion and $27.83 billion, respectively in October.
Singh told reporters it was high time the Modi government provided some respite to the common people by taking sound policy decisions on crucial issues like the inflation and exports. The Congress, in an article on its website, alleged that the country's trade deficit had ballooned to a 3-year high which was "alarming" and "a cause for worry" as the world economy was on a recovery path with most inputs like crude oil becoming cheaper. It blamed the "failed" government policy for the increase in trade deficit.
The party said the GST was acting like a "hand brake" on the economy and preventing it from participating in the global recovery, insisting that the new indirect tax regime being implemented by the Modi government was a far cry from the one the Congress had envisioned. Calling the GST a "complicated mess", the article said nobody was able to comprehend it. "The government itself is struggling in trying to explain it to the traders, so why did the government implement it this way in the first place? "It is, however, agonising to see that the mistakes of the government are being paid for by the economy and people of India," the article said.
Singh said rising prices punched holes in the savings of common people, and claimed the Modi government "diminished" India s image abroad as falling exports cast a "dark shadow" on trade and commerce. "Since the BJP leaves no opportunity to project how India's image has been enhanced on the global stage due to its economic policies, we would like to strongly underline its abysmal record on diminishing India's international trade indices," he said. The Modi government delivered one blow after the other and "stuttered" India s economy, he said, adding "Modinomics" weakened the country's strong trade fundamentals and left its image "battered". Singh said India s trade deficit, the gap between imports and exports, stood 25 percent higher compared to last year at USD 14 billion, according to Ministry of Commerce data. The trade gap, he said, stood at $8.9 billion in September.
With PTI inputs