BJP dismisses Congress charges on economy, says it is cherry-picking stats

Taking to social media, Jairam Ramesh asserted that the income growth of the ultra-rich had outpaced that of the middle class.
BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya
BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya

NEW DELHI:  The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched a blistering attack on Congress leader Jairam Ramesh regarding his comments on social media platform X on India’s economy, particularly the data on income tax returns spanning from 2013-14 to 2021-22. Taking to social media, Jairam Ramesh asserted that the income growth of the ultra-rich had outpaced that of the middle class.

Challenging Ramesh’s assertions, Amit Malviya, the BJP’s national IT in-charge and co-in-charge of West Bengal BJP, responded on Tuesday on X, “Jairam, allow me to set the record straight with cold, unadulterated facts — not the cherry-picked statistics you are using to peddle misinformation with your half-baked wisdom, much like your boss.”

Citing SBI research, Malviya said that the weighted mean income of Rs 4.4 lakh in FY 2013-14 had surged by nearly threefold to Rs 13 lakh in FY 2023-24. He emphasised, “Do you even grasp the magnitude of this growth? The average income of all our citizens has increased. But, you wouldn’t mention that, would you?” Malviya also criticised the Congress party, highlighting that 13.6 per cent of the population had transitioned from the lower income bracket to higher income levels in 2023 compared to 2012-13. “That is not the ‘ultra-rich’ who thrived in the crony-capitalist and license-raj era of the Congress since Independence but common people,” he added.

Citing findings from a study by Anil Padmanabhan, he stated that the number of taxpayers in each income bracket had surged, attributed to rising incomes. “For instance, the Rs 5-10 lakh bracket witnessed growth from 37 lakh tax filers in FY 2013-14 to a colossal 1.1 crore in FY22-23 obviously due to increased incomes. This is particularly noteworthy given that the income tax exemption limit increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh in 2023-24,” he claimed.

Malviya further critiqued Ramesh’s posts, stating that there is a “democratisation of wealth creation” underway, in contrast to the perception created against the government by the Congress. “Quoting data, he also rebuked the Congress Party, saying, “Geography spearheading wealth creation is not restricted to a certain income class or a select group of cities. Many startup and unicorn founders are from the middle class and from different tier-2/3/4 cities.”

He lambasted the Congress by revealing that in 2012, the list of affluent entrepreneurs originated from only 10 cities, which expanded to 76 cities by 2022. Malviya cited the IMF’s acknowledgment that various government schemes and initiatives had virtually eradicated ‘extreme poverty,’ reducing consumption inequality to its lowest point in 40 years.

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