PC blows own trumpet during presentation

 With the general elections round the corner, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday made the most of perhaps his last opportunity to present an interim budget to showcase the “unparalleled” growth in the 10 years of UPA government.

Chidambaram rejected the BJP’s repeated accusations of policy paralysis during UPA rule, contending that the Congress-led government had performed well above the “trend growth rate” of 6.2 per cent. He also hit back at the NDA, saying that the average annual GDP growth between 1999 and 2004 was 5.9 per cent, which was below the trend rate.
“I reject the argument of policy paralysis. Let history be the judge of the last ten years,” he said.

The finance minister rattled out figures to buttress his claims that the UPA had performed better than the NDA in a span of six years.

“Ten years ago, we produced 213 million tonnes of food grains; today we produce 263 million tonnes of food grains. Ten years ago, the installed power capacity was 1,12,700 MW; today it is 2,34,600 MW,” he said.

Chidambaram slammed BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi by attributing his steering of the economy to “hard work”. “I may add, among other mentors, my mother and Harvard taught me the value of hard work,” he said.

Addressing a rally in Chennai last week, Modi had taunted Chidambaram for his stint at Harvard. “Going to Harvard means nothing. What matters is hard work,” Modi had said accusing the finance minister of mismanaging the economy.

Chidambaram blamed political parties for scuttling the Insurance Las (Amendment) Bill and the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill.

These bills have not been passed by Parliament “for reasons that have nothing to do with the merits of the bills”, he said.

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