New Delhi: Four years of NDA rule at the Centre has led to a drop in people’s optimism about employment and income prospects, raising uncomfortable questions about the Modi government’s economic policies.
According to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) latest consumer confidence survey, which was conducted in six metropolitan cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad – in May, as many as 48% of respondents said that the general economic situation has worsened from a year ago while 31.9% said the condition has improved. That gives a net response of -16.1 (31.9 -48) percentage points.
In comparison, the net response was -14.4 percentage points in June 2014 – one month after the Modi government took charge and the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II government stepped down.
The consumer confidence survey, which obtains responses on “households’ perceptions and expectations on the general economic situation, the employment scenario, the overall price situation and their own income”, has also captured data on whether respondents expect the economic situation to be better or worse a year later.
In the May 2018 survey, 49.5% of respondents said the situation will improve while 27.8% said it will worsen.
In comparison, in the June 2014 survey, as many as 56.7% of respondents said the situation will get better in a year’s time and only 17.6% said it will worsen.
A little more than half – 50.8% – of those surveyed in May 2018 said they expected their income to increase in the next year. In comparison, the proportion of those who expected their income to improve was 63.9% in the June 2014 survey.
The only parameter on which the NDA government scores better than the UPA-II is inflation. But for that, the Modi government cannot take credit, as it is an outcome of moderation in the global oil market.
The benchmark Brent crude was ruling at near $110 a barrel in May 2014. It began falling in June 2014 and hit the historic low of $30.8 per barrel in January 2016, offering a significant headroom to the Modi government to jack up excise duty on petrol and diesel and fill its coffers.
On completion of its four years on May 26, the Modi government held country-wide events to showcase the achievements. However, findings of the RBI survey tell that people feel the economic situation has changed for the worse under the Modi government.