Turned around economy from ‘fragile’ to ‘top 5’ in decade, says govt's White Paper : The Tribune India

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Turned around economy from ‘fragile’ to ‘top 5’ in decade, says govt's White Paper

Govt tables report in Parl, flags UPA scams, lists steps to set finances right

Turned around economy from ‘fragile’ to ‘top 5’ in decade, says govt's White Paper

FM Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi. PTI

Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, February 8

The Modi government on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the previous UPA government’s “lost decade” of economic reforms by issuing a White Paper that listed a plethora of scams, double-digit inflation, an ailing banking sector and high policy uncertainty, all of which marred India’s business climate, dented its image and the people’s confidence about their future.

The “White Paper” said the government undertook a wide range of measures resulting in the transition of India from the league of “fragile five” to the league of “top five” in just about a decade. It was tabled in both Houses of Parliament by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Divided into three sections, the first dwelled on the mismanagement of the economy, the second, also the shortest, listed the scams during the UPA government, while the third, which is the longest, narrated the measures taken by the Modi Government to set right the economy. Answering the question why now, it said: “Our government refrained from bringing out a White Paper on the poor state of affairs then. That would have given a negative narrative and shaken the confidence of all, including investors. The need of the hour was to give hope to the people, to attract investments, both domestic and global and to build support for the much-needed reforms. The government believed in ‘nation-first’ and not in scoring political points.” The first part, dealing with the macroeconomic situation under the UPA government, dwelled on double-digit inflation, excessive bank lending, a vitiated business climate despite the Vajpayee-led NDA government having handed over a healthy and resilient economy with high growth potential in 2004. The part also detailed the mismanagement and short-sighted handling of the public finances during that decade.

“Ironically, the UPA leadership, which seldom fails to take credit for the 1991 reforms, abandoned them after coming to power in 2004. Little was done by the UPA government to build upon the strong foundation laid by the previous NDA government,” said the White Paper while noting the fast growth between 2004 and 2008 due to lagged effects of the reforms of the NDA government and favourable global conditions.

The longest chapter on policies and measures that the Modi government took to restore the health of the economy, with the help of charts and graphs, claimed to have made the economy vigorous and capable of fulfilling the growth aspirations of the people in the present and in the “Amrit Kaal”.

2004-14: Inflation, debt ‘skyrocketed’

  • Inflation rate in double digits, high fiscal deficits heaped misery on ordinary households
  • Largest power outage in history, in July 2012, left 62 crore people in darkness and put national security at risk
  • Aadhaar, a symbol of digital empowerment, too suffered at the hands of UPA government
  • Banking crisis remained most infamous legacy; high percentage of bad debts underestimated
  • Debt rose at a fast pace; external debt climbed 21.1% as against 4.5% under BJP government
  • Large unspent funds for many social sector schemes due to poor policy planning and execution
  • Policy paralysis, weak leadership hit defence preparedness; led to shortage of equipment, ammo

Key scams

  • Coal block allocation: Rs 1.86 L crore loss estimated by CAG; Conviction in 14 cases
  • Commonwealth Games: Charge-sheets filed in 8 cases
  • 2G: Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss estimated by CAG; graft cases in appellate court
  • INX Media Case: Irregularities in foreign investment approval; under trial
  • Aircel-Maxis scam: Irregularities in approval of foreign investment; sub judice
  • Antrix-Devas deal: Corruption in satellite deal; chargesheet filed
  • Land for jobs: Irregularities in Group ‘D’ Railway jobs; probe on
  • Embraer Deal: Kickbacks in purchase of Brazilian firm aircraft; case in trial court
  • Hawk aircraft purchase: Bribery to MoD officials; probe on
  • Adarsh Society: Irregularities in allotment of apartments in defence land project; sub judice
  • AgustaWestland deal: Graft in choppers’ procurement
  • Land allotment: Cases of allotment of prime land in Panchkula, Gurgaon; charge-sheets filed

‘Wrong turns’ marked 10-year upa rule

The economy was on road to nowhere in 2014 due to wrong turns taken during 10 years of UPA rule. — White Paper

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