Jaitley accuses Congress of ‘economic mismanagement’

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday criticised the economic mismanagement of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) during its 10-year rule.

His comments came on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.

In a post, titled – ‘My Reflections on the NDA Government after Completion of Four Years in Power’, Jaitley lambasted at Congress’ lacklusture approach in arresting the slide of the economy between 2013-14 as the global situation became more challenging.

He added that when the BJP came into power in 2014, the government had taken a number of steps to revive the economy.

Talking about the current account deficit (CAD), Jaitley said, “The Current Account Deficit (CAD) saw an unprecedented 6.7 percent deficit in the year 2012-13. The NDA has consistently maintained a CAD of under two percent on an annualised basis. The poor economic management was visible when under the UPA fiscal deficits remained alarmingly high.”

“The government was spending more and earning less. We witnessed fiscal deficits of 5.8 percent, 4.8 percent and 4.4 percent in the UPA’s last three years. Having inherited the mess, the NDA, year after year, has brought it down to 3.5 percent and shall, this year, try and deliver a 3.3 percent fiscal deficit,” he further said.
Jaitley took a dig at the Congress saying it failed to curb inflation, which even touched double digits at one stage.

“The UPA provided India in its last years an inflation figure upto nine percent and at one stage even crossed into double digits. The NDA has tried to contain inflation and on most occasions has remained within the target of three to four percent.”

The finance minister added that the poor economic management of Congress resulted in the high cost of borrowing for the centre and the state governments.

“The bond yields had touched an incredible 9.12 percent in April, 2014. We have been, on an average, able to contain it between six to seven percent with a low of 6.3 percent on one occasion and rarely in the seven percent range only when global factors impacted either the currency or the crude prices,” Jaitley further said.
He explained that the road sector programmes has witnessed a 189 percent increase between the last year of the Congress rule and the current year of the present BJP rule.

Calling the fifth year, as “our year of consolidation of the policies and programmes to be implemented”, Jaitley said, “In our Prime Minister, we have a strong leader with a mass appeal. His capacity to change India’s destiny is globally recognised. His insistence on integrity, his infatigable capacity to work, his clarity of policy and direction, his boldness in taking steps in larger national interest gives the NDA a natural political advantage. Clarity and credibility are hallmarks of the NDA government.”

Continuing his tirade against the Congress, Jaitley lampooned the grand old party for forming a “fictional alternative” to usurp the BJP out of power in the next year’s general elections.

“The last few days have witnessed a discussion about a ‘fictional alternative’. A group of disparate political parties are promising to come together. Some of their leaders are temperamental, the others occasionally change ideological positions. With many of them, such as TMC (Trinamool Congress), DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), TDP (Telugu Desam Party), BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) and the JD(S) (Janata Dal-Secular), the BJP has had an opportunity to share power.”

The political agenda for the debate this year appropriately will be Prime Minister “Modi versus an anarchist combination”. The 2014 election conclusively established that in the New India chemistry will score over arithmetic when it comes to deciding the country’s destiny.

Jaitley went to criticise the party leaders of the parties who are either convicted or charged with serious allegations of corruption. He also called for honest governance, where a party understands the problem and the political situation of the country.

Recalling the United Front government in the late 1990s, Jaitley said, “A federal front is a failed idea. It was experimented under Shri Charan Singh, Shri Chandrasekhar and by the United Front Government between 1996-98. Such a front with its contradictions, sooner or later, loses its balance and equilibrium. Remembering 1996-98 as perhaps one of the worst period of governance, the aspirational India which today occupies the high table in the world shall never accept an idea which has repeatedly failed.”

Supporting the above statement, Jaitley explained, “The 2014 election conclusively established that in ‘New India’ chemistry will score over arithmetic when it comes to deciding the country’s destiny. (ANI)