UPA ignored economy, says Arun Jaitley

The Asian Age.

India, Politics

Arun Jaitley defends demonetisation, says cash encourages tax evasion.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi. (Photo: AP)

New Delhi: The government accused the previous UPA dispensation of focusing on redistribution of resources without enhancing growth and productivity which had scared away investors and adversely impacted several macro-economic parameters.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley also said that the previous government had indulged in discretionary allocation of national resources, causing damage to the economy and the Modi dispensation did away with the practice as it learnt from their “mistakes”.

“Our problem was that the UPA government, I am not saying from point of criticism but introspection if you look back, suffered on domestic policy on two fronts...”

“You (the UPA) did not realise time had come to end discretion and switch over to non-arbitrary mechanism for resources allocation. It was a fundamental mistake and we learnt from your mistake and corrected this,” he said. He referred to 2G spectrum and coal block allocations which were shrouded in allegations of corruption during the UPA government.

Mr Jaitley said the fiscal deficit has been proposed at 3.2 per cent of the GDP for 2017-18 and will be further brought down to 3 per cent in the subsequent year.

“Our effort is to have as much public expenditure as possible while managing fiscal deficit,” he said.

Mr Jaitley said that demonetisation, coupled with the implementation of GST, will make India a single market instead of 30 different markets in the states, facilitating free flow goods and services throughout the country. He said that the cash leads to shadow and parallel economy in the country.

In Rajya Sabha, the Opposition described the Budget as a “damp squib”, “deceptive” and “full of flowery and ornamental language to fool people.”

Initiating the discussion on the General Budget, former finance minister P. Chidambaram termed the note ban as the “most terrible” decision and alleged that graft and black money have continued to thrive and large sections have been adversely affected by it.

Terming the Budget as a “great disappointment”, he estimated that 2016-17 will see a hit on GDP by 1-1.5 per cent and “if very unlucky”, then even two per cent and warned that this trend will spill over into 2017-18 also.  Mr. Chidambaram said 75 per cent of all small and medium industries are closed because of note ban and quoted figures by the Sangh affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.