The Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday of making boastful claims that were far from the reality and being in the denial mode as it challenged him for a debate.
Congress's senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said the country's economy was in shambles and warned of a grave crisis next year if urgent steps were not taken to nurse it.
He also said the ongoing agitation in the country was the creation of the government as it was pushing ahead its divisive agenda and called for repealing the amended Citizenship Act, which was not acceptable to people who were protesting all over the country.
"Such loud talk by a prime minister and hollow promises that are far away from the truth.... The prime minister remains in the denial mode and he is selling this pipe dream of a USD 5 trillion economy, for which the economy has to register a double-digit growth now for five years."
"The prime minister should not make boastful claims, which are negated by the ground realities. He should be serious and should take urgent steps to nurse the economy, create jobs and restore the factory output. We are going to face a grave crisis next year as we are going to face a revenue shortfall, as inflation is already in double digits and the GST and tax collections are very low," Sharma said.
Modi said the Indian economy had the resilience to reverse the current slowdown and return to the high-growth trajectory and exhorted corporates to take bold investment decisions to help push the GDP growth rate up.
The prime minister highlighted his government's decisions such as decriminalisation of corporate offences and promised them that "no inappropriate action will be taken on genuine corporate decisions".
Speaking at an event to commemorate 100 years of industry body Assocham, he said a massive Rs 100 lakh crore will be spent in the coming years on building infrastructure and another Rs 25 lakh crore on the rural economy and this, in turn, will help nearly double the size of the Indian economy to USD 5 trillion by 2024.
"I am fully aware of the discussions happening around (the current economic slowdown). I do not challenge the comments made on it. I try to take away positives from such a discourse," Modi said.
Sharma said Modi was denying the reality, while noting that when the prime minister said something, there should be seriousness in it.
"I do not know whether the prime minister is serious, because it sounds like a joke," he said.
Unfortunately, the country's economy was demolished under Modi's rule but he was not ready to admit it, the Congress leader said.
He said the prime minister was boasting of the lowest corporate tax and wished that he had talked about the poor people as to how they would have money in their hand for consumption.
If the factories were not producing and people not buying, where will the GST and tax collections come from, Sharma asked.
"We will be happy to debate this with the prime minister on any forum on the date of his choice," he said.
Sharma wondered which country was the prime minister talking about, as his claims were far away from the ground realities.
When Manmohan Singh was the prime minister, the country's GDP grew four times and the Congress-led UPA left an economy of USD 2 trillion, he said, adding that the situation today was such that India's GDP growth rate stood at 4.5 per cent and the real value addition at 3.2 per cent.
Admitting to ups and down, Sharma said, "Now we are staring at a deepening economic crisis. It is not a slowdown."