Economy was in hands of terrible doctors under UPA: Jaitley rebuts Chidambaram

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday slammed his predecessor P Chidambaram for being a know-all living under false illusion, and said the economy was in the hands of a “terrible doctor” under 10-year rule of UPA which pushed it to being in the fragile five economies in the world.

Indian economy under the BJP rule since 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, he said.

“I do believe that some people can make very good comment at us because they write and speak with right logic but I am not so sure whether they make the best administrators,” he said.

Replying to the debate on the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley reeled out statistics on GDP growth, inflation, fiscal deficit and current account deficit (CAD) to draw a contrast between the previous UPA rule and the present regime.

He picked on Chidambaram for questioning the rationale of plan to lower corporate tax to 25 per cent from current 30 per cent, saying the Direct Tax Code drafted and finalised by the former finance minister had first proposed lowering of the tax paid by Indian companies to leave them with surplus to invest.

“In some cases, where you stand depends on where you sit,” he said alluding that his predecessor had changed stand after moving from treasury to opposition benches.

While there was division within the ruling UPA over the issue of national biometric ID Aadhaar, stand on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and corporate tax change was also changed, he said. “What is the consistency of your stand on economic policy,” he asked.

Answering posers put by Chidambaram during his speech on the Budget on Thursday, Jaitley said when pre-Budget Economic Survey spoke of work remaining to be done on agriculture, employment and eduction sectors it did not mean the problem was created in last four years but implied unfinished task of 55 years of Congress rule.

“The work is still pending a lot and this is the real reality. We are not living in the air castle,” he said.

Referring to Chidambaram’s quip that chief economic adviser – the author of Economic Survey, was a very good doctor but the government is a terrible patient, he said even a bad patient ends up being cured if there is a good doctor.

“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,” he said.