There is a likelihood that the RBI governor may not be called for the panel’s meeting on the said date.
New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Thursday, questioned the government’s claim of India being the fastest growing economy after the GDP in 2016-17 recorded a three-year low of 7.1 per cent, forcing even the chief statistician T.C.A. Anant to admit that it could be due to the impact of demonetisation.
Dr Singh, a noted economist, raised the matter during the meeting of a high-level parliamentary panel, which discussed the issue of demonetisation with representatives of the banking sector on Thursday.
The meeting, according to reliable sources, witnessed several stormy scenes as many BJP members are said to have to objected to the Opposition members’ criticism of the demonetisation process, especially after Dr Sin-gh’s sharp observations.
He is reliably learnt to have punched holes in the Centre’s claims of the economy growing in a robust manner and even overtaking China as the fastest growing economy, as India’s GDP growth slipped to 6.1 per cent during the January-March quarter of 2016-17, whereas China recorded an impressive growth rate of 6.9 per cent during the same period.
Significantly, it was Dr Singh who in Parliament had tore into the government on its decision to announce the demonetisation exercise on Nove-mber 8, 2016. Describing the process as a “monum-ental mismanagement”, “organised loot” and “leg-alised plunder”, he had cautioned that the GDP will fall by two percentage points, while speaking on the controversial decision in Rajya Sabha on November 25 last year.
According to sources privy to the development, during the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on finance, the former PM, a Rajya Sabha MP and member of the panel, sought to know from bankers the reasons behind the sluggish economic growth despite the fact that the government had upgraded the base year for computing GDP growth to 2011-12 from the earlier 2004-05.
The parliamentary panel, which is led by Congress MP M. Veerappa Moily, discussed the issue of demonetisation with representatives of a select nationalised banks and personnel of Indian Banks Association (IBA).
Sources told this newspaper that though the panel was keen to summon RBI governor Urjit Patel during its next meeting scheduled for June 8 to seek his explanation on the impact of demonetisation, quite a few BJP members urged Mr Moily not to summon the Central bank’s chief. There is a likelihood that the RBI governor may not be called for the panel’s meeting on the said date. Mr Patel could not make it to the panel’s last meeting, which was held on May 25.
The committee is keen to know the impact of demonetisation, as the Centre is yet to come up with the actual quantum of old currency notes which were deposited with the Government till December 30, 2016, the last date for exchanging and submitting old notes of 500 and 1,000 rupees denomination.