Taking a dig at the previous NDA government led by the BJP for poor economic performance, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said the Congress-led UPA regime pushed up the average annual economic growth from 5.8 per cent to 8.5 per cent in the last five years.
"From 5.8 per cent during the NDA regime, the growth rate has increased to 8.5 per cent in the Congress-led UPA tenure," Chidambaram told reporters here.
"Only the Congress and not BJP has the high degree of competence required to tackle all challenges," he said.
He said it was due to the high growth rate, states were flush with money.
The growth rate would be close to seven per cent in 2008-09 despite the worst global economic crisis in 40 years, he said.
The minister said Mumbai and Maharashtra represent every opportunity available to Indians as well as problems that India faces.
"Mumbai is the commercial, industrial and financial capital of the country which drives the industry and service sector.
Maharashtra has large farmlands which grow cotton, sugarcane and brought prosperity to farmers. Similarly, there are places where the farmlands are dry and farmers are very poor," he said.
Chidambaram said the UPA has spent five times more than its predecessor NDA on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, mid-day meal scheme, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and irrigation sectors.
"The BJP and Left parties have mocked at this high growth rate and these schemes directly benefit the poor," he said.
Chidambaram said the BJP describes the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) as a flop scheme, which is as good as saying the party will scrap it (if voted to power).
While the Left parties had no mention of the NREGA in their manifesto in 2004, it was only Congress which mentioned about it and fulfilled its promises.
The minister also wondered what the BJP meant when it said in the manifesto that it would improve POTA and said that it is unclear whether it will scrap the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and farm loan waiver.
"(The) BJP manifesto is unclear on farm loan waiver. We have given a waiver of Rs 65,380 crore which has benefited 3.68 crore families," he said.
He said BJP's manifesto has no word on public, private sectors and industry growth or fiscal responsibility.