Around this time last year, the anti-Modi brigade had coalesced around a certain narrative: that the Indian economy is in terrible shape. One JNU economics professor, in an interview published in Scroll, even argued that India was facing “economic collapse.”
A year since that time, India’s GDP growth stands at a sparkling 8.2%, the envy of the world. We are the fastest growing economy, after all.
Want to hear a scary story? The JNU professor who predicted a collapse of the Indian economy is still employed at JNU, presumably drawing a salary at expense to the taxpayer, and presumably imparting his magical economic wisdom to a whole new generation of young students.
So what does the anti-Modi brigade, much chastised by the reality of the Indian economy, do next? They grasp at straws, seizing on the recent weakness in the Indian Rupee versus the US Dollar.
So how do we judge whether the Indian currency is really weaker today than it was under ‘great economist’ Dr Manmohan Singh?
The truth, as you will see, is that the Rupee is stronger today versus most major currencies than it was under UPA (all currency graphs generated from http://www.xe.com)
Let’s begin with the EURO. Here is the 10-year chart:
Just see the rising red line of the UPA disaster from 2009 to 2014. This is what Dr Singh did to the Indian Rupee. At one point, the Euro was trading at nearly Rs 92 under his rule. Today the Euro is around Rs. 84.
Next, we come to the British Pound, another big global reserve currency other than the US Dollar and Euro.
A nearly identical graph, showing the disaster that was Manmohan Singh. At one point under him, the British pound touched almost Rs 107. Today it trades at about Rs 94.
Let us now take a look at other major Western economies: Canada and Australia. How has the Indian Rupee fared compared to them?
Let’s start with the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Let’s put up a 10-year chart and just look…
Breathtaking! Just see the Rupee nosedive under Dr Singh!
The increasing strength of the Indian Rupee under Modi is so obvious here that you would have to be a JNU economics professor to not see it.
The same story is repeated with respect to the Australian Dollar (AUD).
Again the 10-year chart shows the absolute carnage of the Indian Rupee under Dr Singh and the way Modi govt shepherded our currency and gave it strength.
Okay, next. What about the Japanese Yen? Could Dr Singh, with his fancy economics degrees, have outperformed Modi here? Let’s find out.
Okay, so Dr Singh still lost, just not as badly as he did with respect to the Euro, British Pound, Australian and Canadian dollars. Under Dr Singh, the Japanese Yen traded at a high of 72 paise, while it is around 64 paise today.
A defeat for UPA again, just not as shattering as its other defeats. Being the charitable person that I am, I’ll put this down as a ‘moral victory’ for Dr Singh!
Next. Let us look at India’s peers in emerging economies, the so-called BRIC group. Let’s start with the Brazilian Real.
No competition for Modi here. Brazil, once seen as a competitor to India during the years of Dr Singh, has been left behind in the dust.
Next, we come to the Russian Ruble. This one is a feast for the eyes.
Oh! It is almost like the great nation of Bharat was limping along from 2009 to 2014, not knowing what it was really capable of. Then, some magic happened in 2014 and immediately the whole nation took a quantum leap forward into a much stronger future!
The sort of quantum leap that you might expect if the nation was suddenly pulled out from under a clueless tea-seller and thrust into the able hands of a world-renowned economist PM!
But that’s not all!
I saved the best for the very of end. The chart for the Chinese Yuan.
See the rock-like stability of the Indian Rupee vs Chinese Yuan under Modi. And just see what Dr Singh did to it. See the years when the Yuan soared and the Rupee collapsed under UPA.
Can there be a more stinging indictment of the way UPA ran our currency into the ground? And now they use their minions in the media, intellectual and academic ecosystem to taunt Modi for the USD vs INR conversion rate.
In these charts, I’ve gone all around the world: all over the West (Euro, Pound, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar) to emerging markets (Russia and Brazil) and to Asian giants (China and Japan). Modi has outperformed Dr Singh in every single one of them, often by massive margins.
So what is happening with the US Dollar and the Indian Rupee? It is now clear that it is the US Dollar which is stronger and not the Rupee which is weaker. If there was some problem with our economy, the Rupee would have been hammered with respect to other currencies around the world, not just the USD.
Now that we have established this, I am going to take the argument of Indian liberals to its only logical conclusion. They are not going to like it one bit.
This is the data, whether liberals like it or not. Of course, liberals have been known to advocate for “narrative” instead of “fact” (or mahaul over data) and this would be a good time for them to repeat those arguments.‘
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.