NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi-led government on Thursday released a white paper on the Indian economy, loaded with the political message that the Congress-led UPA government considerably weakened the country’s economy during its 10-year rule from 2004-14 whereas the NDA government revived it through reforms and action-oriented policies.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the white paper in Parliament on Thursday, a week after she made the promise in her Budget speech on February 1. The paper attacked the UPA government for its failure in managing the economy, which it said was in sound health in 2004. The white paper sought to highlight the inefficiencies of the Manmohan Singh-led government, such as lack of leadership that triggered a policy paralysis, project delays, and unprecedented scams.
Brought out just before the general elections, the white paper cherry-picked data and quotes of experts to attack the UPA government for mismanaging public finances, creating a banking crisis, and making India externally vulnerable.
The paper termed the banking crisis of 2014 as massive with gross bad loan levels touching as high as 12.3% of the advances ‘largely because of political interference by the UPA government in the commercial lending decisions of public sector banks’. It pointed out the gross advances by PSU banks were Rs 6.6 lakh crore in March 2004, but ballooned to Rs 39 lakh crore by March 2012.
The paper cited RBI reports to show the UPA government showcased poor policy planning and execution. The 54-page document also elaborated the measures taken by the NDA government since it came to power in 2014 to fix the economic crisis.