For those in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) keen on taking on the Nehru-Gandhi family, here is some fresh ammunition and it has nothing to do with politics. Historical data on India shows that the country's economy grew at a faster rate when Congress governments were headed by persons from outside the family, according to an analyst with the Ambit Group.
"As per the 04-05 GDP Growth Series, the average GDP growth for the country was 4.49 percent under the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. With non-dynastic Congress Prime Ministers at the helm, India's GDP grew on an average of about 6.21 percent, almost 170 basis points faster," Siddhartha Rastogi, director for Private Wealth Business and head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Ambit Group, wrote in a column for a magazine.
Rastogi cited the data in context of the present Congress leadership under Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi failing to ask some tough questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP-led NDA government over the demonetisation decision.
While Modi and his most-visible deputy — Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley — have been claiming success or at least nationwide acceptance of the decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Rastogi said that the Congress, as the main opposition party, failed to raise the issue of disruption to the economy caused by the cash crunch.
"The Congress, which is the principal opposition party in both the houses, has not been able to question the government effectively and seek answers, thus assuring the people of India that the initiatives taken by Centre would ensure long-term benefits for them," Rastogi said in his column that appeared in the Outlook.
While Jaitley cited tax revenue collection figures, foreign tourist arrivals and increase in mutual fund inflows for November to claim that all was well with the world's fastest-growing economy, Modi preferred to update the country on the benefits of his "surgical strike" on black money and corruption, after the 50-day deadline for returning the banned notes to banks ended on December 30, 2016. Instead in his televised address a day later, he announced incentives for farmers, senior citizens, pregnant women and small entrepreneurs. Jaitley also skipped the issue of sharp fall in bank credit growth rate for November.
Rastogi said that 85 percent of the transactions in the job-intensive small and medium enterprise (SME) sector are in cash and have been badly hit by the note ban decision. These SMEs also contribute about 45 percent of India's gross domestic product (GDP) and employ about 46 crore people. The replenishment of cash, or remonetisation, has not kept pace with the demonetisation, Rastogi said.
India's high cash-to-GDP ratio of 13 percent has been often cited to hint that the remonetisation need not be 100 percent (of demonetised currencies).