The Congress expressed concern on Wednesday over the economic trends that have come out of a recent RBI bulletin and alleged that the economy has been mismanaged by the BJP-led Centre due to which a vast majority of Indians are suffering.
The opposition party also expressed serious concern over the inflationary trends that have remained above the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) threshold level of 4 per cent.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the RBI bulletin of October 2023 shows extremely concerning economic trends and demonstrates the Narendra Modi government's continuing mismanagement of the country's economy.
Ramesh recalled that in the September bulletin, a range of negative indicators were revealed, including a 47-year low in the savings growth rate, a stagnation of domestic credit to the private sector and a flat labour-force participation rate.
"These trends either remain or have worsened: A major reason for the low net savings growth is that there was a huge spike in household liabilities. Despite the finance ministry's misleading claim that this spike is due to home and vehicle loans, the September bulletin had clearly shown there was a 23 per cent spike in gold loans and a 29 per cent spike in personal loans.
"The October RBI bulletin confirms this fact -- personal loans were the single largest contributor to bank credit growth in August 2023, and grew at a massive 23 per cent, while gold loans grew at 22 per cent," the former Union minister said in a statement.
"Each month's RBI bulletin should serve as a reminder to the Modi government that as much as it tries to hide data and mislead the public, the basic facts do not lie -- the economy has been completely mismanaged and the vast majority of Indians are suffering," Ramesh said.
In fact, for the last 15 months, non-housing personal loans have been growing at over 20 per cent -- something that has never happened in at least 15 years -- he claimed.
Meanwhile, Ramesh said credit growth to the industrial sector, which is essential for investment and economic growth, is slowing down. It was just 6.1 per cent year-on-year in August, almost half of what it was last year and only one-third of the level in 2013.
The Congress leader also claimed that the share of bank credit to industry has been cut in half by the Modi government -- from 46 per cent of non-food credit in 2013 to just 24 per cent in 2023.
"Inflation remains out of control at 6.8 per cent, way above the RBI's target of 4 per cent. The RBI raised the issue of 'sustained inflationary pressures in cereals, pulses, and spices'.
"The vast majority of Indians continue to face the pressure of price rise on their incomes, finding it difficult to meet basic food, education and other necessities," he claimed.
Ramesh said while Prime Minister Modi lectures others on "revdi" (freebies) and fiscal responsibility, the BJP government's fiscal deficit is ballooning.
"It has grown by almost 20 per cent over the past year to over Rs 6.4 lakh crore in Q1 of 2023-24. The Modi government is incurring debts that will weigh India down in the future, and to show a smaller deficit, is violating all principles of federalism by reducing tax transfers to states," he said.
The spectacular failure of the government's "Make in India" initiative and the ineffectiveness of the production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes are evident in the sluggish export growth in this quarter, at less than 4 per cent, the Congress leader said.
"The worst-hit by the export slump are MSMEs, who face lower profits and higher costs. This is not a new trend -- while from 2004-2014, exports grew at an average of 14 per cent per year, under the Modi government, export growth has more than halved, at only 6 per cent," he claimed.