Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on Saturday talked about the “huge business” done by three movies in a single day arguing that all’s well with the economy. A day later, he “withdrew” his statement and said his it was taken “out of context”.
Prasad though said his remark that three films made Rs 120 crore in a single say was factually correct. “Entire video of my media interaction is available on my social media. Yet I regret to note that one part of my statement has been completely twisted out of context. Being a sensitive person I withdraw this comment,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
The minister pointed that the three movies, released on Gandhi Jayanti, Joker, War and Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy collectively made Rs 120 crore on a single day. He said this showcased the “soundness” of the Indian economy.
Prasad’s comments amid gloomy economy numbers drew sharp criticism from the opposition. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took a swipe at the government and said it was “Pra-sad index”.
“Li Keqiang, China’s PM inspired the Keqiang index to measure the health of the economy with the indicators: rail freight, power consumption & bank credit. For our very own IT Minister @rsprasad daily film trade turnover is better. Pra-sad index indeed,” Ramesh tweeted.
The CPM said Prasad’s comments show that the government “mocks” at the misery of the common people. “First they create an economic crisis by mismanaging things, then instead of taking remedial measures, continue to be in denial,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted.
The minister’s comment came on the back of industrial output figures released on Friday which presented a different picture.
The government data revealed factory output shrank by 1.1% in August, recording the poorest performance in seven years due to a sharp decline in production of capital goods and consumer durable.
The World Bank has said that India’s growth rate is likely to fall to 6 per cent as the economy battles a slowdown. The growth rate stood at 6.9 per cent in 2018-2019.
The World Bank noted that growth decelerated for the second consecutive year and pointed out to the widening current account deficit. India’s current account deficit, a parameter which reflects the trade balance, was 2.1 per cent of the GDP in 2018-19 from the 1.8 per cent a year earlier.