mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
As GDP Slips, PM Attempts To Restore Confidence in India's Economy


India’s GDP growth for the April to June quarter was a dismal 4.4 percent, the government said today. It was the slowest rate of growth since 2009. “It was a weaker performance than most economists had been expecting,” the BBC reports, “and was a slowdown from the first three months of the year, when growth was 4.8%.”

Amid this depressing news, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is notoriously mellow and subdued, attempted to restore investors’ confidence in the Indian economy with a speech at parliament. It was rousing at times, and he sparred with an opposition parliamentarian who seemed to disrespect Singh’s position. He vowed to do “whatever is necessary.” He pledged to take “all possible steps.” He called for new focus on “structural reforms,” as the FT reports. “The easy reforms of the past have been done. We have the more difficult reforms to do,” Singh said as he called for broad support for pending, much-needed legislation.

Singh’s words fell on deaf ears, at least in the opposition BJP party, whose parliamentarians staged a walk-out in the middle of the speech and who criticized Singh for unmet promises and failed reforms. “It is a most disappointing, frustrating statement the Prime Minister has chosen to give,” the former BJP finance minister said. “He used words which have no meaning and he hasn’t said anything new….Brace yourselves. We are in for very very difficult times.”

The economic downturn is turning India’s election season into an angry, accusatory affair. The opposition shows no sign of support for Singh and his flailing administration in this time of crisis. The Congress-led government, meanwhile, has managed only superficial, emergency measures to stabilize the economy, and an unwieldy food security bill won’t be much help. Indians should hope that Singh’s surge of energy yields some productive results, and soon.

[Manmohan Singh photo courtesy of Shutterstock]

Features Icon
show comments
  • lukelea

    Keep in mind that measurements of total gross domestic product (GDP) have a margin of error of several percentage points plus or minus. Attempts to discriminate between a change in the total of 4% vs. one of 5% are therefore quite meaningless, to say nothing of 4.4% vs. 4.8%.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service