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State’s growth figures spark debate

After Manpreet Badal took Punjab’s debt issue to the political arena, it is now the turn of state’s growth rate to get politicized. Congress has put into place a special team to study SAD’s claims that Punjab has achieved 8.8% growth rate.

Sukhbir Singh Badal, deputy chief minister, Punjab said that 8.8% growth of Punjab against the national average of 7.4% as calculated by Central Statistical Organization (CSO) has proven the claims of opponents false, regarding tempo of development in Punjab.

Badal said that the figures have been released by Central Statistical Organisation, a central government organization. “Punjab has registered 17.9% growth rate in industrial sector, despite being surrounded by hill states enjoying tax holidays and sops,” said Sukhbir Badal.

However, the opposition is not buying government’s claims of double figure growth in the industry. Arvind Khanna, Congress MLA, said, “The party has set up a team to study the government’s claims as the state, lagging miserably behind at 4.4%, is being claimed to be doing alright. There seems to be a manipulation of data by the government and it smacks of selective presentation of data.”

Leader of opposition in Vidhan Sabha, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said, “The government is presenting only a part of the CSO figures for public consumption and projecting growth rate for political gains. The growth is nowhere apparent on the ground.”

After Sukhbir Badal slammed Amarinder Singh on growth rate figures, the BJP too has joined the debate with senior leader Manoranjan Kalia claiming credit for the “double digit” growth rate. “You do not really need figures to tell you that growth rate has doubled in Punjab as it is very apparent at the ground level. The Congress knows that growth and development are the key issues that SAD-BJP has succeeded on and it naturally feels threatened,” said Kalia.

However, economists too are skeptical about the growth rate projections released by the government. Sucha Singh Gill, an eminent economist and director general, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, said, “There are a large number of factors which influence growth rate. Punjab’s claimed growth rate does not match with ground realities. One has to take into account a large number of factors for accurate figures, like inflation, constant and current prices, etc.”


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