Has the ‘white paper’ of Modi government been brought for election purposes?
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released a ‘white paper’ on the Indian economy in the Parliament on February 8.
This white paper prepared by the Finance Ministry compares the economic performance of the Congress-led UPA government between 2004 to 2014 and the BJP-led NDA government between 2014 to 2024.
Manmohan Singh led the UPA government from 2004 to 2014. Narendra Modi is leading the NDA government since 2014.
‘White Paper’ is issued to provide information on a particular issue.
For example, the government can issue a ‘white paper’ on black money so that people can know about the problem, its impact and its possible solutions.
Analysts say that even though the government is calling it a ‘white paper’, it is not technically correct. Instead, it is a comparison of the performance of two governments on different economic parameters.
When the Modi government did a comprehensive review of the economic situation at that time, when it took charge of the government for the first time, it could have been called a ‘white paper’. But instead of the beginning, he introduced it in the tenth year of his rule.
The government says that it did not bring the ‘White Paper’ initially because the condition of the economy was very bad during the last term of the UPA government.
This would have spread negativity and the confidence of foreign investors in the Indian economy would have been shaken.
At that time, there was a need to create hope among the people so that foreign investment could come into the country and reforms in the domestic economy could accelerate.
Modi government has said that there are four objectives of releasing the ‘white paper’ on the economy.
What is said in the ‘white paper’?
Modi government has said that there are four objectives of releasing the ‘white paper’ on the economy.
1. To give information about those economic crises, which were left to the NDA government in 2014.
2. To give information about the steps taken by the NDA government for the betterment of the economy.
3. To generate a meaningful debate on national interest and fiscal responsibility.
4. To get involved in the development of the country with new inspiration, consciousness and determination, because immense opportunities are opening up in front of it.
This 58-page ‘white paper’ has three parts. In the first part, the macroeconomic situation during the ten years of the UPA government has been mentioned.
In the second part, information is given about the latest status of corruption cases during the UPA government and in the third part, it is told how the NDA government has rejuvenated the economy.
In this ‘white paper’, the Modi government has claimed that the UPA government had inherited a good economy, which was ready for more reforms. But within ten years the performance of the economy deteriorated.
Remember that before this the NDA government was working under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The second important claim is that the UPA completely abandoned economic reforms during the last ten years.
The third claim has been made that after the global financial crisis of 2008, the UPA government wanted to somehow maintain the high growth rate. But for this he did not care about macro economic fundamentals. For example, the inflation rate became very high during this period.
Fiscal deficit increased significantly. The NPA crisis of banks also became very high, due to which the economic activities in the country suffered a setback.
What allegations were made against the UPA government?
The ‘White Paper’ states that the UPA government took huge loans from the market and used it for non-productive expenditure. Very little was spent on the health facilities of Indians and the government remained stuck in ‘policy paralysis’.
That means the government was not taking any steps regarding economic reforms.
It has been said that due to ‘policy paralysis’ the army’s preparations were hampered.
It has also been said that the decade of the UPA government was full of wrong policies and scams.
In this, quoting IMF data, it has been said that how inflation was higher under Manmohan Singh government as compared to Modi government.
It has also been said in the ‘White Paper’ that during the tenure of Modi government, a large number of toilets were built under the cleanliness campaign and major steps were taken in the direction of inclusive banking.
A large number of people opened bank accounts and received money from welfare schemes directly into their accounts.
Congress leaders have termed this ‘white paper’ of the Modi government as an election manifesto.
Congress has presented a ‘Black Paper’ in response to this ‘White Paper’ of the Modi government, in which its claims have been answered.
Now the question is whether the allegations made in the ‘White Paper’ of the Modi government against the UPA government of damaging the economy and abandoning economic reforms are true.
Is the Manmohan Singh government’s claim of being stuck in ‘policy paralysis’ true?
Has inflation been controlled during the Modi government and had it gone out of control during the Manmohan Singh government?
And the most important question is, which government had better economic performance among the two?
How much substance are there in the allegations?
The ‘white paper’ quotes a note from investment bank Morgan Stanley, in which India was included among the five most ‘fragile’ economies of the world in 2013.
But it is true that such situation did not exist in India during 2004 to 2014.
Despite the global financial crisis, the Indian economy recorded its fastest growth ever between 2004 and 2009.
In 2008, the UPA government had to face the impact of the global financial crisis. This was an unprecedented situation.
The whole world was facing economic recession due to the global financial crisis.
But India has remained untouched by this. In the next financial year, the Indian economy registered a growth of 8.5 percent.
NRB Murthy, Vice Chancellor of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar School of Economics University told the BBC, “Historical growth was recorded during the UPA-1 government. Till now, such high growth had not been recorded in the five-year tenure of any government. Yes, it is true that the economy under the UPA-2 government is growing due to many reasons. Was stuck in trouble.
However, in the white paper, the Modi government has given the credit of good growth in the UPA-1 government to the earlier Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Historic growth was recorded during the UPA 1 government. But during the UPA 2 government, the economy was in crisis due to many reasons including policy paralysis.
It says that from 2004 to 2008 (the tenure of the UPA-1 government), the economy registered rapid growth but this was the result of the economic reforms of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and favorable global conditions.
Analysts say that the first term of the UPA government was a period of high growth rate, low inflation and better financial management.
After the implementation of the FRBM Act in 2003, its target was achieved only once in 2007-08.
He says that on the contrary, the NDA government never met the target of FRBM (Financial Responsibility and Budget Management). It changed its rules. It removed the rule of limiting the target of revenue deficit.
Under FRBM itself, provisions are made to keep fiscal deficit under control. Through this, financial discipline is monitored.
‘Document brought for election purposes’
Well-known economist Arun Kumar, while talking to BBC on questions related to the ‘White Paper’, said, “There is no doubt that this document has been brought for election purposes only. Because instead of talking much about one’s own performance, questions have been raised about the performance of the previous government.
Speaking to BBC, he said, “The crisis that occurred during the UPA-2 government had external causes. But the crisis created by the NDA government in the economy is the result of its domestic policies. Demonetization, wrong implementation of GST. Hona and NBFC crisis. These three major shocks had already occurred before the Corona epidemic.
He says, “The economy that the Modi government got in 2014 was recovering after the decline of 2012-13. When the Modi government got the responsibility of the economy in 2014, it had registered a growth of eight percent. So this is to say It is wrong that he inherited a failing economy.
Arun Kumar also says that the UPA government made laws like right to education, right to employment. The economy benefited from this and proved helpful in the recovery of the economy after the Corona epidemic.
He says that the Modi government was criticizing MNREGA but this scheme was useful in the recovery of the economy after the Corona epidemic.
‘What kind of comparison is there without data?’
Modi government denies its unfavorable data. Figures of increase in unemployment and decline in consumption. In such a situation, how can it compare with the performance of Manmohan Singh government?
Arun Kumar pointed out one more thing. He said, “BJP says it has cracked down on corruption. They claim that black money has been eliminated. This means that the ratio of direct tax and GDP should increase but it remained between 5.4 to 6.2 percent. Which is That is very less. The meaning of ending corruption is that the income would have increased. But this did not happen.
He says that ‘Modi government denies its unfavorable data. For example, the government rejected the figures of increase in unemployment and decline in consumption. In such a situation, how can the Modi government compare its economic performance with the economic performance of the Manmohan Singh government?
Professor Bhanumurthy believes that the government made mistakes during the UPA-2 government. The government became a victim of policy paralysis and the value of the rupee declined drastically.
But Arun Kumar says that ‘the crisis did not come from within but from outside. The US central bank Federal Reserve had stopped releasing money into the economy through quantitative easing. Because of this the Indian rupee was stuck in crisis. But many times the economy got stuck under Modi government due to its wrong policies.
As examples, they cite demonetization and wrong implementation of GST.
This post originally appeared on www.bbc.com