There has been growing unease among economists and political leaders as the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors wreak havoc on the Indian economy. After two successive quarters of GDP contraction, an RBI bulletin earlier in November had said that India has now entered into what can be called a technical recession in the first half of 2020-21. As such, the dream of becoming a $5 trillion economy seems increasingly more elusive.
At the end of August this year, data from the National Statistical Office showed that India's GDP shrank by 23.9% in the April-June period of this year - the steepest ever decline. Now, with the GDP continuing to contract for the second straight quarter, India has found itself pushed into an unprecedented recession. According to a CARE Ratings knowledge paper from last month, India would have to record an annual growth of around 11.6% for the next six years to reach the $5 trillion mark by 2026-27.
Against this backdrop, when RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das took to Twitter marking the fact that the Reserve Bank of India now had a million followers, he was in for some rather harsh comments. "RBI Twitter account reaches one million followers today. A new milestone. Congratulations to all my colleagues in RBI," he had tweeted on Sunday.
Rather ironically, Das does not seem to one of these million followers. At the time of this article being published, his Twitter account shows that Das is not following any other handles.
Netizens wasted no time in trolling the official, with many well known personalities including AAP leader Raghav Chadha and author Devdutt Pattanaik.
"When Kubera confuses himself with Urvashi ..... in Indra-sabha," Pattanaik wrote in response to the post.
"What if we ain't 5 trillion, at least our central bank got 1 million," jibed Chadha.
Many others also joined them in criticising the tweet. While some contended themselves with general disapproval at the financial situation facing the country, others wondered why this was being touted as an achievement. Others promptly drew parallels with other well known figures and their Twitter followings and found the RBI coming up short.
"For the RBI Governor to tweet this instead of his PR Dept is abundant proof that he is not fit for purpose. Far weightier issues like tackling inflation, protecting deposits and explaining the inexorable rise in circulating cash warrant his attention," contended one irate Twitter user.
There were also some tweets that left us uncertain about its sincerity. "Path breaking achievement sir!" tweeted one user.