The International Monetary Fund will take into account the widespread protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens in its the next assessment for India in April, organisation’s chief economist Gita Gopinath told NDTV on Monday. She added that the world body will track the ongoing protests in which 26 people have been killed so far.
2019 has ended with protests on a global scale, most notably in Latin America, West Asia and North Africa, Hong Kong, and India. Gopinath, however, mentioned only Chile and Hong Kong.
“I have nothing really significant to say [about India],” she said. “It is something we will follow and we will see what this does in our next assessment in April.” Protests have been going on in Hong Kong since June last year, and have not simmered down even though the controversial extradition bill was withdrawn in September 2019. The protestors are demanding an independent investigation into instances of police brutality; the retraction of the classification of protestors as “rioters”; amnesty for arrested protestors; and the implementation of the promised universal suffrage.
Gopinath said social cohesion was very important. As of now, it is important to ensure that nations are protecting the vulnerable sections and “they are not left behind in the growth story”, she added.
The IMF, too, has highlighted a link between “intensifying social unrest across many countries — reflecting, in some cases, the erosion of trust in established institutions and lack of representation in governance structures” — in its World Economic Outlook released in Davos, Switzerland.
India has witnessed protests over the controversial citizenship law and proposed NRC. The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam. The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to distinguish between undocumented migrants and Indian citizens. Nineteen lakh people were excluded in one such exercise carried out in Assam last year.
On Monday, the monetary fund said the Indian economy is estimated to grow 4.8% in 2019-’20, and said growth was projected to improve to 5.8% in 2020-’21 and 6.5% in 2021-’22. In October, it had predicted an expansion of 6.1% in 2019-’20. India’s “domestic demand has slowed more sharply than expected amid stress in the nonbank financial sector and a decline in credit growth”, the IMF said.
Gopinath had said there were signs of stabilisation and recovery in the global economy. However, she added that climate change was a major danger to global economy