UPA was 'reckless', gave up economic strength of Vajpayee years: Arun Jaitley

Jaitley argued that the UPA government had little to nothing to do with why India saw economic growth during its tenure.

UPA was 'reckless', gave up economic strength of Vajpayee years: Arun Jaitley
File picture.

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Arun Jaitley has launched a blistering attack on the UPA in the ongoing political battle of words over GDP growth rates from 1993. Listing excerpts of economic data from the back series information released by the National Statistical Commission on Friday, Jaitley said the GDP growth clocked under the UPA was because of global trends and owed nothing to the UPA's efforts.

Jaitley said in a Facebook post on Sunday that the credit for any GDP growth during the UPA years was either a result of the growth momentum achieved under the Atal Bihar Vajpayee-led NDA or a function of high global growth. He also accused the UPA of "recklessly" frittering away the advantages accrued over the NDA years.

Jaitley listed various data sets to demonstrate his point, from the fiscal deficit, current account deficit, inflation, bank credit and the economic performance of emerging economies.

The table Jaitley produced for the current account showed a surplus of 0.5 percent between 1999-2004, and deficits of 1.2 percent and 3.3 percent between 2004-2009 and 2009-2014 respectively. It pegged the current account deficit down to 1.2 percent between 2014 to present.

READ Jaitley's full post here:

He also used cumulative groupings of inflation figures to claim that they had gone up in the UPA years only to be brought back down since the present dispensation took charge in 2014.

Jaitley also accused the UPA of "reckless" promotion of bank lending, saying those policies had led to the high non-performing asset (NPA) levels for public sector banks. He also noted that the poor lending practices had left the banks unable to raise lending now.

The former Finance Minister also said the UPA had allowed the fiscal deficit to spike following the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008. "Economies should not spend recklessly beyond their means. If they do that, they leave the future generation in debt. In future years instead of spending for growth, the economy would only be servicing the old debt. It would be noticed that from the period 2008 onwards, when the global boom ended, UPA seriously compromised the fiscal discipline and increased the spending much more than the revenue," he said.

Summarising his argument, Jaitley indicated that India's growth under the UPA was entirely incidental, and had nothing to do with the government at the time. "It would… be seen that in the global context all economies were growing during the boom years, which was not peculiar only to India. It slowed down after the boom years and thereafter. However, post 2014, when the global economy was in slowdown mode, it was India and India alone which has been the fastest growing economy in the world for the last four years and has consistently overtaken China in the growth rate," he argued.