Contesting P Chidambaram’s claims that the earlier NDA government had not handled the economy well, the BJP on Saturday charged him of “not having done his homework well”. It also accused the Finance Minister of presenting a “factually incorrect, misleading and distorted and wild” thesis that the NDA was one of low growth rate and unsound fiscal management.
BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad pointed out the FM had praised the NDA government’s economic performance in his inaugural budget speech and Economic Survey prepared by his own government.
Prasad quoted the economic survey of 2003-04 (when the NDA was in power) as having stated: “The economy appears to be in a resilient mode... The economy has enjoyed the benefits of relatively low inflation, with comfortable stocks of food grains, enhanced competition in products markets and an appropriate mix of fiscal and monetary policies.”
Contesting Chidambaram’s claim that the average growth rate in six years of NDA rule was 5.8 per cent, Prasad said it was more than 6 per cent. This was despite inhibiting factors of the time such as worldwide sanctions against India after the Pokhran-II atomic blasts, the Kargil war, droughts in 14 states in 2001-02, the Gujarat earthquake and Orissa cyclone, he said.
A hostile government like the UPA ought to have taken a critical view of the NDA’s performance, but the survey, in fact, praised us, Prasad said. “It is the UPA government which is under the scrutiny of the common man now because of its repressive and grossly negligent record of the last four years,” he added. “The Finance Minister cannot escape his own responsibility in causing a mess of the Indian food economy, rising inflation and continued misery of the people.”