Govt tears into UPA over economic 'mismanagement'

Synopsis

In three parts and 90 paragraphs, the paper detailed the macroeconomic situation prevailing under the UPA regime, the current status of around 15 corruption scams, and the measures undertaken by the Modi government to turn the economy around.

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Union Minister of Parl...PTI

The Narendra Modi-led NDA government scripted a turnaround of the Indian economy that had been bracketed with the Fragile Five and gripped by “policy paralysis” under the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, according to a white paper presented in Parliament by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday.

The paper, released ahead of the general elections, accused the UPA governments of “massive corruption” as it flagged “double-digit inflation” and an “ailing banking sector” among other issues, charging it with mismanagement of the economy.

It said the Modi government’s structural reforms and strengthening of macroeconomic fundamentals have put the economy on a sustainable, high-growth path.

After coming to power in 2004, the UPA’s quest to maintain high economic growth by any means after the global financial crisis of 2008 severely undermined macroeconomic foundations, the white paper said.

‘A crisis situation’

“The UPA government inherited a healthy economy ready for more reforms, but made it non-performing in its 10 years… It was a crisis situation,” the 50-page document said. An enormous effort had to be made to mend the economy step by step and put governance systems in order, the paper said.

In her interim budget speech on February 1, Sitharaman had announced that the government would issue a white paper outlining the economic mismanagement in the 10 years of UPA rule till 2014.

In three parts and 90 paragraphs, the paper detailed the macroeconomic situation prevailing under the UPA regime, the current status of around 15 corruption scams, and the measures undertaken by the Modi government to turn the economy around.

Under the UPA regime, double-digit inflation, a banking sector damaged by excessive lending during the boom phase and policy uncertainty marred India’s business climate, denting its image and people’s confidence about their future.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government had handed over a healthy and resilient economy with high growth potential in 2004, it said. The paper charged the UPA government with mismanagement and short-sighted handling of the public finances with excessive market borrowing coupled with inefficient spending.

The paper observed that there were numerous scams during the UPA period, such as those related to the Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum allotment. It said these caused revenue losses to the exchequer while fiscal and revenue deficits spiralled out of control.

Commenting on the white paper, R Dinesh, President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said: “With its inherent resilience and the enabling structural reform measures announced in the last decade, we are confident that the Indian economy will be able to reach the $7 trillion GDP mark before 2030, the official timeline indicated by the government.”

ETB-1-09022024

Back on track

Over the past 10 years, the government had successfully overcome challenges left behind by the UPA and taken “tough decisions” to place India on the growth path.

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Harry Byrne

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