Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday argued that there is no economic slowdown in the country even as the growth in almost all the sectors has declined significantly in the last few months. To support his argument, the law minister cited the earning of three movies on the box office. Addressing a press conference, Prasad said that three movies earned Rs 120 crore on October 2, so there's not such thing as economic slowdown.
"I was Information and Broadcasting Minister in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government and I am fond of movies. Movies have been doing huge business. Three movies released on October 2 and film critic Komal Nahta told me that the national holiday (October 2) saw earning of Rs 120 crore by three movies. Rs 120 crore comes in a country which has a sound economy," he said.
Ironically, a day before his statement, the Ministry of Statistics released a data showing sharp contraction in the country's factory output in the month of August. According to Prasad's own government data, the country's industrial output declined by 1.1 per cent in August as against a growth of 4.2 per cent last month on weak performance by manufacturing, power generation and mining sectors.
The decline in the industrial output is considered as a signal of deepening economic downturn. Experts say the decline in factory output may lead to further monetary easing by the Reserve Bank of India in December. As per the date, manufacturing and electricity output declined by 1.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively and mining remained almost flat with a growth rate of a mere 0.1 per cent.
Moreover, Automobile sales in India witnessed its worst-ever drop in August with despatches in all segments, including passenger vehicles and two-wheelers, continuing to plummet as the sector reels under an unprecedented downturn, industry body SIAM reported recently. This is the steepest fall in overall vehicle sales in the country since Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) started recording wholesale vehicle sales data in 1997-98.
As per data released by the industry body, vehicle sales across categories, including passenger vehicles (PVs) and two-wheelers and commercial vehicles (CVs) stood at 18,21,490 units last month as against 23,82,436 units in August 2018, a fall of 23.55 per cent. In July, overall auto sales had witnessed its sharpest decline in nearly 19 years, dropping 18.71 per cent to 18,25,148 units last month as against 22,45,223 units in July 2018.
Watch: Ravi Shankar Prasad dismisses slowdown