NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday expressed concerns over the continuous decline in the national economy by saying that the situation is ''deeply worrying.'' Speaking to ANI, the former prime minister said, ''The state of our economy is deeply worrying but I will argue how the state of our society is even more worrisome.''
''The GDP figures released today are as low as 4.5%. This is clearly unacceptable. Aspiration of our country is to grow at 8-9%. The sharp decline of GDP from 5% in Q1 to 4.5% in Q2 is worrisome. Mere changes in economic policies will not help revive the economy,'' Dr Singh said.
The senior Congress leader added, ''We need to change the current climate in our society from one of fear to one of confidence for our economy to start growing at 8%/annum. The state of economy is a reflection of the state of its society. Our social fabric of trust and confidence is now torn and ruptured.''
The remarks from Singh - a veteran politician and noted economist - came shortly after the figures released by the government on Friday evening showed the Indian economy registering its slowest growth in six years, during the September quarter, despite all government efforts to arrest the slowdown.
According to the data released by the government, India's GDP registered a meagre growth of 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter of this fiscal.
The figures released by the National Statistical Office showed that the GDP growth slowed to 5 per cent, the lowest in six years and a quarter, since June.
Last time, the GDP growth slipped below 5 per cent was in the March quarter of FY14, when it dipped to 4.3 per cent. The historical data shows that the GDP growth has been on the decline for the past six quarters.
The slowdown in Q2 FY20 was largely due to a sharp decline in the manufacturing sector and agriculture output, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said in a statement.
Reacting to the ''freefall in the national economy,'', Singh's party Congress too launched a blistering attack on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre for failing to wrest the decline in the economy.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, "India’s GDP has collapsed to an abysmal 4.5%. We are in a virtual free-fall. This is the lowest GDP quarter in 6 years. But why is the BJP celebrating? Because their understanding of GDP (Godse Divisive Politics) suggests double-digit growth levels. All in the perspective!"
Meanwhile, reacting to the GDP data, Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian said, ''We are saying again that the fundamentals of the Indian economy continue to be strong. GDP is expected to pick in Quarter 3.''
The weak GDP growth in Q2 was also caused by grim industrial output data which contracted 0.4 per cent during the quarter against 3 per cent expansion in the preceding three months, the official statement said.