Patna: The country is not facing economic slowdown and big companies are trying pressurise the government to lower tax rates by showing a decline in manufacturing, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi claimed on Wednesday. His comment invited immediate ridicule from the opposition RJD.
Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio in the Nitish Kumar government, cited the example of Parle G biscuits and said its demand had, in fact, increased in Bihar.
He doubted the claim of its manufacturers that a fall in demand of the company’s biscuits could have been caused by developed states opting for expensive pastries instead of the cheap confectionary with a higher tax rate. But it did not appear to be so.
Parle, the manufacturers of Parle G biscuits had recently warned of a massive lay-off following a slump in production which they blamed on a fall in demand caused by an increase in prices.
The rise in prices, it said, is due to a rise in the cost of production resulting from higher tax rates payable for confectionery items under GST, which came into force two years ago.
There is no mandi (economic slowdown). All these reports one gets to see in the media about automobiles and other sectors suffering is actually a ploy by lobbies in the corporate world to put pressure on the government for lowering tax rates, the senior BJP leader said at a programme organized by a news channel in Ranchi.
Sushil Modi was heavily trolled on Twitter by opposition RJD for his comments. Veteran RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary charged him with “trying to wish away a financial crisis that is too stark”.
“Of late, Sushil Kumar Modi has begun sounding like the French monarch who said if people did not have bread, they should eat cakes,” Tiwary told PTI here.
The phrase is commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette supposedly uttered during one of the famines that occurred in France in 1789 during the reign of her husband
King Louis XVI ahead of the French Revolution.
Recently, he (Sushil Modi) said that the decline in automobiles was because people did not like to buy vehicles during the Pitri Paksha which in fact began only last week and continues for only a fortnight,” Tiwary, who was a member of the Rabri Devi cabinet, said.
“Before that he had scandalized all by claiming that economic slowdown was some sort of a seasonal phenomenon which occurred during monsoons and automatically got rectified later on. It all displays his utter ignorance about financial matters, though he is the minister in charge of the department, the RJD national vice-president said.
He said, the recent report by an international media house has stated that investors are withdrawing capital from the country and there are no fresh investments. Noted economists have time and again pointed out that the unimpressive GDP growth rate of five per cent too might be an exaggerated figure as it does not take into account the huge unorganized sector which is yet to recover from the impact of demonetization, Tiwary said.
Our Deputy CM seems to be in the same frame of mind as last year when he had hoped for less crime during a religious festival by cajoling criminals with folded hands to give up their activities for the period, he quipped.
At the inauguration of the Pitri Paksh fair at Gaya in 2018, Sushil Modi had urged those involved in anti-social activities to refrain from indulging in crimes during the fortnight-long congregation as visitors came from far and wide and they might return with a bad image of Bihar in mind. The deputy chief minister had invited severe ridicule from political opponents for it.