New Delhi: In an apparent dig at Narendra Modi, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said the difference between the growth models of Gujarat and Maharashtra is inclusiveness.
Chidambaram also said there cannot be a debate on economic policy without political or ideological context.
"I don`t know how many of you got a chance to read parts of my speech that I made at Ahmedabad.
"I am not taking names of the states, I am not taking names of chief ministers but the difference between a single minded pursuit of growth and growth with inclusiveness as a goal is a difference between, I believe, Maharashtra and Gujarat," the Minister said in the Rajya Sabha.
His comments come against the backdrop of intense debate over the growth model espoused by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and those followed in other states including Maharashtra.
Replying to the debate on the state of economy, the Minister emphasised that economic growth must be inclusive and sustainable where environmental and ecological concerns must be taken into account.
"Therefore, let us take a stand on growth. I believe, my government believes, my party believes, we must have growth but it must be inclusive and sustainable. If that means we may have to sacrifice some growth so be it," Chidambaram said.
Citing various data, including growth numbers, he also drew a comparison between the performance of economy during the NDA and UPA regimes.
"Trying to compare five years of the NDA government with nine years of the UPA government and part of the tenth year, I am afraid that if we do that...That kind of comparison will only end with egg on your face," Chidambaram said.
Referring to the debate between prominent economists, Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen, the Finance Minister said it should be seen in a context.
"There is this raging debate between Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen. I think this debate makes a good theatre but I think this debate must be seen in a context. I hold both of them in high regard...I think we must understand what they are talking about," Chidambaram said.
Noting that their arguments should not be underestimated, he said growth is absolutely necessary.
"I think both of them are concerned about both prosperity and abolition of poverty. I don`t think their goals are different," the Minister said.
They just lay emphasis on one aspect a little more than the emphasis on the other aspect, he said.
"I believe this country will be served well if... All of us agree that we must combine our passion for growth with compassion for the poor," he added.