Modi defends economy, says slowdown exaggerated by pessimists

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"It is not the first time that growth has dipped to 5.7 percent in any quarter", Modi said while addressing Company Secretaries at inauguration of Golden Jubilee Year of Institute of Company Secretaries of India in the national capital.

"In the last three years railway network has been increased by 2100 kilometer, while the last government in the similar period had set only 1300 kilometers", said Modi.

He also targeted the previous UPA government saying that during its tenure there were 8 instances when GDP was below 5.7 per cent.

"Government is committed to reverse this trend.we are capable of that and ready to take decisions", Modi said, adding the decisions taken by the government will take India to a new growth trajectory. But today when people are discussing this, I want to say that India was part of a group of countries called the fragile five. "Even someone like me, who isn't an economist, wonders how this happened when a big economist was in charge", he said, hitting out at the Manmohan Singh government in his speech that stretched over an hour. I will not let the present problems jeopardize the future of the country.

Former Union minister Arun Shourie, who'd served in the Vajpayee cabinet, has slammed the Narendra Modi government over sliding economic growth and increasing job losses. That decline, he said, was more unsafe for the economy, because in those years India was battling "higher inflation, higher current account deficit and higher fiscal deficit". Double digit inflation has come down to less than 3 per cent, CAD brought down to 2.5 per cent, fiscal deficit reduced to 3.5 per cent.

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"In the past three years, after registering a growth of over seven percent, we suffered economic slowdown and we are not denying that". Followed by his offensive against the Modi regime, Shourie, while speaking to a news channel, said demonetisation was the "largest money laundering scheme". "Government very well understands the value of your hard earned money", he said.

Enlisting the growth in the economy further, the prime minister said, "The number of air passengers has gone up by 14 percent in the past two months". PM Modi admitted that the growth rate has come down, but assured the government is taking all efforts to revive the economy.

Modi said registration of 2.1 lakh out of 3 lakh suspected shell companies identified post note-ban has been canceled in a crack down on the blackmoney.

He reminded the audience that India has also seen quarters when the growth rate fell 0.2 percent and 1.5 percent.

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