Comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a strict principal, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Indian economy was going through a lean patch, similar to a college which experiences a dip in results because cheating in examinations has been stopped.
Defending the Narendra Modi government over steps like demonetisation and GST that resulted in slackened growth, he said that these measures will bear fruit after initial “teething problems”.
“Reformative measures like the introduction of GST will improve the economy in the long run, although there might be some teething problems in the initial stages of implementation. In the end, such reforms will also benefit the consumers,” Naidu said while addressing the 90th-anniversary celebrations of the Andhra Chamber of Commerce here on Tuesday.
“Imagine you have appointed a principal of a college which is notorious for the poor quality of education. You find that most students cheat during the examination with the support of the teaches and do well in exams.
“The result of the college has been always 90 per cent in recent years. You are a person with principles. And hence you have decided to eliminate cheating from the examination. You installed CCTV cameras in all examination halls and also take proper actions towards the students and the teachers’ malpractices,” Naidu said dwelling on the lower GDP growth during the past quarter.
He added that such measures stop cheating in examinations but the performance of the college dips drastically and less than 50 per cent students passed.
“This has been a bad performance in the recent years. You now face flak from all sides. Students are angry because they failed due to your strictness, teachers are angry because their track record got spoiled because of you, trustees of the college are angry because the result of their college has taken a beating under your charge. That is what happening in India right now,” Naidu said.
The Vice President cited from various reports and projections by institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to buttress his arguments.
He said according to the ‘Country Snapshot’ published by the World Bank, the economic activity is expected to stabilize, maintaining annual GDP growth at 7 per cent in 2018.
Naidu also quoted IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde as saying in response to a question that “there is a little bit of a short-term slowdown” as a result of efforts like demonetisation and GST, “but for the medium term, we see a very solid track ahead for the Indian economy”.
“With various measures taken by the government to step up economic growth, including FDI in various sectors and given the strong macroeconomic fundamentals, India will continue to grow steadily,” Naidu said.
He said India is at the threshold of becoming one of the major economic powers and the private sector can play a huge role in accelerating the growth and development of the country.
Naidu said Tamil Nadu is among the states which are at the forefront of industrialization. This state is known, among others, for the automotive, leather and textiles industries and the hard-working nature of the population.
“To spur growth, we have to improve infrastructure, resource efficiency and promote innovative technologies,” Naidu said.
Referring to the Andhra Chamber of Commerce, Naidu said 90 years is indeed a major milestone in the journey of this organisation which was witness to the birth of the Indian Republic and many other momentous events since it was formed in 1928.
From 35 members when it was formed, the Andhra Chamber of Commerce has grown into one of the most reputed industry associations and has 1,800 members at present. Besides, 55 trade and industry associations are affiliated to it, Naidu said.
Dubbing Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu’s comments “shocking”, DMK Working President M.K. Stalin urged him to stay non-partisan and not use the Raj Bhavan for political propaganda in future.
Stalin said Naidu’s speech on Monday at the release of ‘Those Eventful Days’ written by former Tamil Nadu acting Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao “raised a series of questions in public mind”.
“While I would like to thank the hon’ble Vice President for the love and respect he has for Tamil Nadu, I expect him to stay true to his words that he is non-partisan and thereby not use the Raj Bhavan for political propaganda in coming times,” Stalin said in a statement here.
The DMK leader said it was “disconcerting” to hear Naidu, a former Bharatiya Janata Party leader, say that it was Tamil Nadu government’s responsibility to fulfil promises made by Amma (then Chief Minister late J. Jayalalithaa) and that “once a government is formed with majority, it has to go back to the people only after five years and one cannot expect the Governor to disregard the Indian Constitution”.
Stalin said the Vice President should re-evaluate his words and reflect on the tone and connotation of words he spoke at the event.
Stalin, Leader of Opposition in the assembly, said Naidu’s statement was “shocking”, coming at a time when a case is pending in Madras High Court against the disqualification of 18 AIADMK legislators.
The DMK leader said numerous requests were made to former acting Governor Rao to resolve the issue.
“An erroneous statement like this from the Vice President weakens the primary motive and intent of the anti-defection law and the primacy of the idea that a government has to be run constitutionally,” Stalin said. (IANS)