BJP, Congress spar over economy: P Chidambaram claims UPA govt delivered highest growth, saffron party disagrees

New Delhi: The Congress-led UPA-1 and UPA-2 governments delivered the highest decadal growth since Independence, former finance minister P Chidambaram claimed on Sunday as he took a dig at the current dispensation saying not one but "three finance ministers" were handling the economy.

The average growth rate under the UPA-1 government was 8.87 percent, during which it also clocked double digit growth of 10.08 percent in 2006-07, while under UPA-2 it was 7.39 percent, he said, citing gross domestic product (GDP) data released by the statistics ministry.

File image of P Chidambaram. PTI

File image of P Chidambaram. PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promptly retorted claiming the UPA years were marked by rising inflation and current account deficits while the Modi government had turned the situation around.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress office in Delhi, Chidambaram said, "UPA 1 and UPA 2 delivered the highest decadal growth of 8.13 percent at factor cost since Independence. It is also a matter of record that during this period 140 million people were lifted out of poverty."

The back series data on GDP prepared by the Committee on Real Sector Statistics, constituted by the National Statistical Commission, was released on the website of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) on Friday.

The report compares growth rates between the old series (2004-05) and the new series based on 2011-12 prices.

Taking on the Narendra Modi-led government over the growth rate data, Chidambaram said the current regime inherited an economy that was on the upswing.

Unfortunately, after the first two years, the government stumbled and the momentum was lost, he claimed. The main reasons were demonetisation, flawed implementation of GST and tax terrorism, the Congress leader alleged.

Chidambaram claimed "three finance ministers are handling the economy at present — a de-facto (in fact), a de-jure (legally), and an invisible one", but did not explain any further.

"The Congress is a passionate advocate of high growth with equity and social justice. All three have suffered under the government of Narendra Modi," he claimed.

Conveying his good wishes to the government in its fifth year, for the sake of the country, the Congress leader said the present dispensation cannot match the average growth rate of the UPA 1, but "we hope it can catch up with the average growth rate of the UPA 2."

Reacting to the Congress leader's claim, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the data referred to by him was not official and had not yet been accepted by the government.
"It seems whenever the Congress party is unable to succeed, it starts celebrating its failures. (During the UPA regimes) inflation was rising and they were unable to check current account deficit, whereas under the Narendra Modi government India has become one of the six largest economies in the world," he said.

During Narendra Modi's regime, the country has transformed from the Fragile Five economies to fabulous few investment destinations, Patra said.

An investment banking firm had in the past labelled Turkey, Brazil, India, South Africa and Indonesia as the 'Fragile Five' economies.

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Updated Date: Aug 20, 2018 06:56:29 IST

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