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Ravi Shankar Prasad withdraws comment linking Indian economy’s health with films earnings

Abhinav Ranjan

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday withdrew his comment in which he compared the current state of the economy with earnings of three films. In a statement issued here, Prasad said that his comment was factually correct but one part of the entire statement was completely twisted out of context.

"My comments made yesterday in Mumbai about 3 films making Rs 120 Cr in a single day- the highest ever, was a factually correct statement. I had stated this as I was in Mumbai- the film capital of India," he said.

Stating that the film industry provides employment to lakhs of people and contributes significantly by way of taxes, he said, "I had also explained in detail about various measures the government has taken as pro-people move to strengthen our economy. Government of PM Narendra Modi always cares for the sensitivity of common people. Entire video of my media interaction is available on my social media. Yet I regret to note that one part of my statement has been completely twisted out of context."

"Being a sensitive person I withdraw this comment," the BJP leader said.

Prasad was facing backlash for his remark that three movies earning Rs 120 crore in a single day suggested that the economy was sound.

"On 2nd Oct, three movies were released. Film trade analyst Komal Nahta said that the day saw earning of over Rs 120 cr, a record by 3 movies. Economy of country is sound, that’s why there’s a return of Rs 120cr in a day," he had said.

The opposition was quick to attack the Modi government. The Congress party hit out at the government over the slowdown and claimed that fiscal deficit is not at 3.3% but beyond 8%.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said that Indian economy has moved from recession to crisis mode and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are "oblivious" to the situation.

Another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh too chided Prasad for linking the Indian economy's health with box office collection of three Bollywood films. "Li Keqiang, China's PM inspired the Keqiang index to measure the health of the economy with the indicators: rail freight, power consumption & bank credit. For our very own IT Minister daily film trade turnover is better. Pra-sad index indeed," he tweeted.

The Modi government is facing criticism from the opposition parties over economic slowdown. However, the government has been claiming that the country’s economy is in good condition.

The BJP leader’s remarks came at a time when India slipped by 10 positions in the world competitive index report and factory output shrunk by 1.1% in August, the worst in seven years. The GDP grew 5% in the first quarter of FY20, data released by the government in August showed.