'Must Prepare Ourselves for Attack': Chidambaram's Warning as IMF Trims India's Growth Estimate

'Must Prepare Ourselves for Attack': Chidambaram's Warning as IMF Trims India's Growth Estimate

New Delhi: Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said an attack on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its chief economist Gita Gopinath was in the offing after the body trimmed India’s growth estimate.

The IMF on Monday lowered India's economic growth estimate for the current fiscal to 4.8 per cent and listed the country's much lower-than-expected GDP numbers as the single biggest drag on its global growth forecast for two years.

In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had pegged India economic growth at 6.1 per cent for 2019.

Listing decline in rural demand growth and an overall credit sluggishness for lowering of India forecasts, Gopinath, however, said the growth momentum should improve next year due to factors like positive impact of corporate tax rate reduction.

Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said: "IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath was one of the first to denounce demonetisation. I suppose we must prepare ourselves for an attack by government ministers on the IMF and Dr Gita Gopinath.”

He also said the revision was "window dressing" and was likely to go even lower.

The Congress leader has been a staunch critic of the Narendra Modi government’s economic policies. He had earlier said if unemployment rises and incomes decline, there is a danger of youth and students "exploding in anger".

"The nation is engrossed with the anti-CAA, anti-NPR protests. Both present a clear and present danger," Chidambaram had said.

Chidambaram had also attacked the government over the rising consumer price index (CPI) inflation.

Retail inflation jumped sharply to 7.35 per cent in December 2019, surpassing the RBI's comfort level, mainly due to high food prices, government data showed on Monday.

The retail inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 2.11 per cent in December 2018 and 5.54 per cent in November 2019.

"The circle of incompetent management is complete. Mr Narendra Modi's government started in July 2014 with CPI inflation at 7.39 per cent. In December 2019, it was 7.35 per cent," Chidambaram said.

"Food inflation stands at 14.12 per cent. Vegetable prices are up 60 per cent. Onion prices are over Rs 100 per kg. This is the 'achhe din' promised by the BJP," he said.