FM Sitharaman tables ‘White Paper’, blames UPA for ‘mountain of bad loans’

Business Standard

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday tabled a ‘White Paper’ on the Indian Economy in the Lok Sabha, which blamed the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for the “mountain of bad loans” and “double-digit inflation” in the period before the Narendra Modi-led government took charge.

The ‘White Paper’ is aimed at highlighting the alleged economic mismanagement under the UPA government, which was led by the Congress from 2004 to 2014.

“Inflation raged between 2009 and 2014 and the common man bore the brunt. High fiscal deficits for six years between FY09 and FY14 heaped misery on ordinary and poorer households. Over the five years from FY10 to FY14, the average annual inflation rate was in double digits. Between FY04 and FY14, average annual inflation in the economy was 8.2 per cent,” said the document.

white paper

“The UPA government failed miserably to facilitate economic activities. Instead, the UPA Government created hurdles that held back the economy. It basked in the after-glory of the lagged effects of the reforms of the Vajpayee-led NDA government and benign global conditions and proceeded to exploit the resultant fast economic growth for narrow political purposes,” it stated.

The result was a “mountain of bad loans”, a high fiscal deficit despite “much of it being hidden”, a high current account deficit, and “double-digit inflation for five years”, which hit the pockets of many Indians and “membership of the club of ‘Fragile Five’ in 2013,” it added.

Fragile Five was the term issued to India, along with Turkey, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, by investment bank Morgan Stanley for allegedly being too reliant on foreign investment to fuel their growth ambition.

The release of the ‘White Paper’, which was first mentioned by Sitharaman after presenting the interim Union budget on February 1, is timed ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in which the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is seeking a third consecutive term to power.

First Published: Feb 08 2024 | 5:32 PM IST

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