New Delhi: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Sunday withdrew his controversial statement, where he quoted box office returns of three Bollywood films to dismiss the economic slowdown.
“I had stated this as I was in Mumbai — the film capital of India. We are very proud of our film industry, which provides employment to lakhs of people and contributes significantly by way of taxes,” he said in a statement issued Sunday.
“I had also explained in detail about various measures that the government has taken as a pro-people move to strengthen our economy. 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.”
‘Fond of movies’
Addressing a press conference Saturday, Prasad had said three movies released on 2 October had collectively earned Rs 120 crore in a day, which was a sign that India’s economy is sound.
“I was information and broadcasting minister in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government and I am fond of movies,” he said. “Movies have been doing huge business. Three movies released on 2 October, and film critic Komal Nahta told me that the national holiday saw earnings of Rs 120 crore by three movies… Rs 120 crore comes in a country which has a sound economy.”
India’s economic growth slowed to a six-year low of five per cent in the quarter that ended June 2019, following which Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government was coming up with sector-specific solutions to fight the slowdown in economic growth.
Sitharaman herself had drawn much criticism earlier this year when she attributed the slowdown in the automobile sector to millennials’ preference for ride-hailing apps such as Ola and Uber over buying cars.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.