India will become world’s third largest economy irrespective of who is PM: Chidambaram


PTI, Apr 28, 2024, 3:06 PM IST

Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ”master of exaggeration” for ”turning an arithmetic inevitability into a guarantee”, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said that India will become the third largest economy in the world no matter who becomes the PM.

The former Union finance minister said India would achieve the feat given the size of its population, and there was ”no magic” involved in it, but refrained from allotting a time frame within which the nation would progress to the coveted third place in the global ranking.

According to the World Economy Rankings 2024, India, with a GDP of USD 4.8 trillion, is preceded by the United States, China and Japan while currently standing neck and neck with Germany.

Countries like France, Italy, Brazil, Canada and the UK, which also feature in the list of the world’s top 10 economies, are below India in their respective ranks.

”Narendra Modi is a master of exaggeration. He is turning an arithmetical inevitability into a guarantee. It is inevitable that India will become the third largest economy in the world (in terms of GDP),” Chidambaram told PTI in an interview.

”In 2004, India’s GDP was at the 12th place. In 2014, it rose to the seventh place. In 2024, it was the fifth largest. No matter who the prime minister is, the GDP will become the third largest in the world. There is no magic in it. It is an arithmetic inevitability given the size of our population,” he said.

Chidambaram, who has served as the Union finance minister four times, however, asserted that the size of the GDP of a country is not the true measure of the prosperity of its people and stressed that per capita income is a more accurate indicator.

”In my view, rather than GDP, per capita income is the true measure of prosperity. But India ranks very low on that global yardstick,” he said.

As per 2024 estimates of the International Monetary Fund, India, with its USD 2,731 per capita GDP, has a global rank of 136.

PM Modi, during his election rallies, has highlighted economic growth as one of his biggest achievements. He has ”guaranteed” the people of the country that he would make India the third largest economy, two notches higher than its current position if he gets a third consecutive term.

Asked whether Congress deliberately excluded the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Act from the party manifesto, the Rajya Sabha MP said the party is opposed to the controversial legislation but was waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on it.

”The Congress is opposed to CAA. But cases pertaining to it are being heard in the Supreme Court and we have to wait for the decision,” he said.

CAA seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Parsi and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have fled their homes due to religious persecution and entered India before December 31, 2014.

On Article 370, the Congress leader said that the party would restore full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir if it comes to power at the Centre.

”The Congress’ manifesto has clearly stated (on page 36) that we will restore full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court has pronounced the final verdict on Article 370. We may or may not agree with the judgement but that is the law,” he said.

A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud unanimously upheld the central government’s 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution which conferred special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The bench also pointed out that Article 370 was a ”temporary provision”, which was enacted in the wake of wartime conditions in the state and was meant to serve a transitional purpose.

Besides repealing Article 370, the Centre simultaneously passed a Reorganisation Act that year which reconstituted the state into two Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The reorganisation took effect on October 31, 2019.

On Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark that she doesn’t have the money to contest the Lok Sabha elections, Chidambaram claimed she has no ”political base in any state” and would have ”lost badly” had she contested from Tamil Nadu, from where both belong.

”The BJP has the biggest war chest, thanks to the money accumulated through electoral bonds. I cannot speak about Sitharaman’s political future. I wish her well,” he added.

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