New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Hitting back at former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for his “incompetent doctor attending the economy” remark while speaking on Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said there was nothing to learn from the people responsible for lakhs of crores of bad debt and twin balance sheet crisis.
Replying to the members in the Rajya Sabha, the Finance Minister said green shoots have started emerging in various sectors and the economy was very well on the path to recovery.
Sitharaman listed out various macro indicators such as FDI and FPI inflows, PMI or Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing and services, rising BSE Sensex and uptick in GST collection to suggest that economic activities were increasing in the country.
The Minister rebutted Chidambaram’s remarks that key economic indicators pointed to deep slowdown and that the economy was perilously close to collapse.
“There was more sarcasm than content in the speech,” Sitharaman said during her reply on Budget discussion in the Upper House.
Countering Chidambaram’s remark that one of the key problems with the present government is pre-disposed to protectionism and strong rupee, the Finance Minister said the government was certainly not pre-disposed to anything except the faulty remedies offered by the previous UPA government.
“One thing I concede. We are certainly pre-disposed about one thing and that is not to repeat the faulty remedies which the UPA government had given in 2008-09 when there was a crisis. None of that will be repeated by us,” the Minister said.
As many as 55 members participated in the general discussion on the Union budget in the Rajya Sabha.
Highlighting the strengths of the economy, Sitharaman said the nominal GDP of the country increased from $2 trillion in 2014-15 to $2.7 trillion in 2018-19 and it reached $2.9 trillion by 2019-20.
Further, the average GDP growth has been 7.4 per cent and inflation has been 4.5 per cent.
She compared UPA government’s performance on the economy with that of the Modi government to drive home the point that macro indicators were pointing to a healthy trend. Taking aim at the Congress, the Minister said India was very fortunate between 2004 and 2014 to have inherited the good work of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As a result there was a cushion available.
“Based on RBI estimates, the Central government’s liabilities came down from 52.2 per cent of the GDP by end of March 2014 to 49.4 per cent by the end of March 2019, showing a healthy trend,” Sitharaman said.
She said the global sentiment towards India was very favourable and rising FDI and FPI inflows reflected that.
On revenue positions of the government, the Minister said that the gross GST revenue is consistently improving. She said the steady and consistent increase in GST collection over the last three months pointed to increased economic activity.
The Finance Minister said the government had taken several steps to give impetus to the four key engines of growth — private consumption, public investment, private investment and exports.
Sitharaman said the government had raised customs duty on various items to promote Make-in-India and encourage domestic manufacturing by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
She stated that no sector had seen any cut in their allocation in the Budget as the government wants the economy to gallop. Sitharaman noted infrastructure projects worth Rs 103 lakh crore lined up for building world-class facilities in the country.