UPA wasted advantage of economic inheritance: Arun Jaitley

NITI Aayog Vice-president Rajiv Kumar

Chidambaram on Sunday took a dig at the Modi government's handling of the economy, saying that though three Finance Ministers - one de facto, one de jure and one invisible - handled the economy, the management was not in very competent hands.

Chidamabaram said the report which, compares growth rates between old series (2004-'05) and new series based on 2011-'12 prices, shows that the average growth rate under the UPA-1 government was 8.87%.

Similarly, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that over 10 per cent growth rate during the Rajiv Gandhi government was debt funded, leading to the disastrous collapse of growth in 1990-92 forcing India to physically transfer gold reserves overseas to avoid a debt service default.

Taking on the Narendra Modi-led government over the growth rate data, Chidambaram said the current regime inherited an economy that was on the upswing. He alleged that since the advent of the BJP-led NDA government in May 2014, there has been a determined effort to run down the record of the two UPA governments from 2004 to 2014.

The Congress leader claimed the Narendra Modi-led government was on a backfoot because of its policies on "demonetisation, tax terrorism and a flawed implementation of the Goods and Services Tax".

The new calculations based on a new methodology (the production shift approach) will have to be vetted and validated by the National Statistical Commission and by a standards authority before they become officially acceptable - which was mentioned in the second paragraph of The Telegraph report on Saturday on the panel's estimates.

Similarly, the GDP growth at market prices clocked 7.68% for UPA 2 as against 7.33% for the first four years of the Modi government.

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As a result, "when the UPA moved out of power in 2014, the last three years' record, even in terms of growth, was less than modest", he said, pointing to "excessively high" credit growth during UPA-1and for some time in UPA-2, blaming this for the bad-loan crisis that gripped the banking system.

"For the sake of the country, we wish the government well in its fifth year", he said at a press briefing here.

Chidambaram said: "The back series data is now available. The numbers prove the dictum that truth can not be suppressed forever and truth has a way of emerging amidst a torrent of lies and distortions".

NITI Aayog today attributed the high growth achieved during the UPA government to the untenable fiscal deficit and reckless expansion of bank credit that led to the dramatic economic collapse. "Dr Arvind Subramanian called them the "boom years", the former Minister said.

"Under Prime Minister Modi, Indian economy transformed from fragile five to fabulous few". "However, post 2014, when the global economy was in slowdown mode, it was India and India alone which has been the fastestgrowing economy in the world for the last four years and has consistently overtaken China in the growth rate", he wrote. "The average of four years under the Modi government is 8.27 per cent". "Rupee's exchange rate went into a free fall during May-August 2013, declining nearly 25 per cent in 4 months", he tweeted.

Moreover, strong foundations have been laid out during the past 4 years for sustained high and inclusionary growth in the future, Kumar said.

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