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Published On: Fri, Feb 9th, 2018

Economy was in hands of a ‘terrible doctor’ under UPA govt.

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dc-Cover-if9brvgip3034p222m9d6vkds6-20171227152903.MediNEW DELHI : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday in Rajya Sabha slammed his predecessor P Chidambaram for being a “know-all” living under false “illusion”, said that the economy of the country was in the hands of a “terrible doctor” during the previous Congress-led UPA government.
Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha on Friday that fiscal deficit slippage is ‘statistical’ because it is primarily due to a shortfall of GST revenue of one month in current fiscal. He said that Modi government has allocated Rs 550 billion for MNREGA and Rs 1.7 trillion for food subsidy and that spend on rural roads has risen manifold.

Speaking of economic performance, he said, “GDP growth in 2012-13 was 5.3% and 6.3% in following year under Congress, compared to 5.7% in one quarter under BJP.” “UPA had an unacceptable level of current account deficit but under BJP rule it has been less than 1%,” he said.
He said that the country was named in the fragile five economies in the world, when Chidambaram was the finance minister of the country. Jaitley said that Indian economy under the Modi government since May 2014 has covered the journey from policy paralysis to structural reforms which have taken out the economy from being in fragile five to being a bright spot.

On February 4, former finance minister and senior Congress leader Chidambaram had said that Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian was a “good doctor” but the NDA government had been a “terrible patient”.
Referring to the Congress leader’s tweet, Jaitley said, “For those ten years, 2004-2014, you had a terrible doctor. And when you have a terrible doctor, even the healthiest of the patients are likely to disappear.”
“I do believe that some people can make very good comments at us because they write and speak with the right logic, but I am not so sure whether they make the best administrators,” he added.

On Chidambaram’s criticism of Jaitley’s decision to lower the corporate tax rate from 30 percent to 25 percent, the finance minister said it was the Congress leader who had first drafted a Direct Tax Code which suggested reducing the tax rate on businesses.
Claiming that Chidambaram had changed his view on corporate tax because he was now in the Opposition, FM Jaitley asked the Congress, “What is the consistency of your stand on economic policy?”
The finance minister said that the lack of job growth and the dismal outlook for agriculture presented in the Economic Survey for 2017-18 were not problems created during the last four years. He said it implied the “unfinished task” left by 55 years of Congress rule.
Jaitley also said that the government expenditure exceeding fiscal deficit was the result of one month’s shortfall in GST revenues for 2017-18. He added that the GDP growth rate during UPA rule in 2012-13 was 5.3 percent, compared to 5.7 percent in the second quarter of 2017-18.(with Agency Inputs ).

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