Why UPA paid no attention to economy, asks Nirmala

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, July 12, 2019. (RSTV/PTI Photo)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday locked horns with P Chidambaram, her counterpart in the UPA regime, rebutting his argument that economy would anyway double in five years if it grew at 12% per year and sought to ask “was that the reason UPA paid no attention to the economy and kept doing all that was needed to increase their own personal income”.

“The goal of $5 trillion economy is just a mathematical calculation. Any money lender can calculate and let you know that it will get compounded every five years. If that indeed is the case, why should there be a government?.

“If that indeed is the case, then I am tempted to ask, is that why during UPA, no attention was paid to the economy and scandals were going on? The economy will anyway double in five years. We will keep on doing what we need to increase our personal income..,” Sitharaman said replying to the debate on the budget in the Rajya Sabha.

Chidambaram had taken a swipe at the government boosting itself to make India's economy $5 trillion by 2024-25. Participating in the debate, he had said that an economy, which was growing at a nominal rate of 12% per year, would anyway double in five years and that it did not need a finance minister or a prime minister to take it to that level.

Sitharaman said that by making such an observation, Chidamabaram has “slighted, ridiculed and mocked” her and implied that the government was not doing anything.

She also sought to ask why the economy did not double every five years in the first 60 years of the Congress rule and why the Hindu rate of growth was thrust on the country?

In a personal attack on Chidambaram, she said that the voluntary disclosure of income scheme (VDIS) introduced by him in 1997 was condemned by the CAG as an “abusive and fraud” scheme, which made the genuine taxpayers suffer.

The said the credit culture of 2008 left so much of burden on the NDA government that they had to pay a huge subsidy bill when they took over and a Rs 1.4 lakh crore of under recovery to the oil marketing companies.

The finance minister assured the House that with all the enhanced expenditure on social sector, the government will achieve its fiscal deficit budgeted at 3.3% in fiscal year 2019-20.

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