From ‘Fragile’ to ‘Powerful’: How BJP plans to take its White Paper on economy to the masses


Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Anil Baluni at the Parliament House during the Budget Session in New Delhi (ANI)

Former Finance Minister Chidambaram says the “white paper” is intended to “whitewash” the sins and commissions of the Narendra Modi government

Our Bureau
New Delhi

Taking its ‘White Paper’ over the alleged fiscal mismanagement under the Congress-led UPA during its 10-year rule at the Centre, the BJP will present the report in every state, underscoring how the previous ruling coalition allegedly inflicted fiscal woes on the country and indulged in corruption.

Atop source in the BJP said the state leaders will take the Centre’s ‘White Paper’ against the Congress-led UPA to the people through press conferences, nukkad sabhas and other forums as the Lok Sabha polls near. The source added that the BJP has firmed its strategy and electoral roadmap for the high-stakes Lok Sabha polls.

Amid the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday presented a ‘White Paper’ on the state of the national economy during the UPA years in the Lok Sabha.

In its ‘White Paper’, the BJP-led NDA stated that when the BJP-led government came to power in 2014, the economy was in a fragile state, public finances were in bad shape, there was economic mismanagement and financial indiscipline, and there was widespread corruption. The nearly 60-page ‘White Paper’ stated further that the banking crisis was “one of the most important and infamous legacies of the UPA government”.

Further, the paper mentioned that the current government believed in ‘nation-first’ and not in scoring political points.

Stressing that the global financial crisis in 2008 wasn’t as serious as the COVID-19 pandemic, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the then Congress-led UPA government should have handled it with sincerity and transparency.

But NK Premachandran of Congress and Saugata Roy of TMC moved substitute motions under rule 342 of the rules of procedure and conduct of business, saying the House disapproves the contents of the White Paper.

During her speech, Sitharaman said, “Two examples should be taken. The global financial crisis after 2008 wasn’t as serious as COVID-19. Still, I would want to say that it was a crisis and the government should have handled it with sincerity and transparency.”

Also, launching a scathing attack at Congress during the debate on the ‘White Paper’ brought by the NDA government in the Lok Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday stated that the UPA government handed over fragile economy to the BJP government in 2014 and in 10 years the Modi government transformed it into “powerful five”.

During his address in the Lok Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that today the highest capital investment has taken place in India. “What inheritance did we get and what did we do? ‘We have brought the boat out of the storm.’ India has changed from ‘fragile five’ to ‘powerful five’. What we did was that the economy that Congress had left at number 11, we brought to the fifth largest economy and very soon we will make it the third largest in the world. We made the law of Aadhaar and connected Jan-Dhan, sent almost 44 lakh crores of rupees to accounts and also saved 3 lakh crores, this is Digital India. Today India is number one in UPI payments. When we were in opposition in the old House, a new scam kept opening every week. If you commit scams, we will not leave you,” he said.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram referred to the white paper presented on the Indian economy in Parliament as a “white-lie paper” and a “hatchet job”.

“The White Paper put out by the government is a hatchet job. It is a white-lie paper. Even the authors will not claim that it is an academic, well-researched or scholarly paper,” Chidambaram said in a statement.

Chidambaram said that the white paper is a “political exercise” to hide the Narendra Modi government’s “broken promises”. “It is a political exercise intended to damn the previous government and hide the present government’s broken promises, monumental failures and betrayal of the poor,” he said.

A fair and unbiased assessment of any period will not start arbitrarily with 2004 and end abruptly in 2014. It would have assessed a reasonable period before 2004 and included a reasonable period after 2014, Chidambaram said.

The former Finance Minister said that the “white paper” is intended to “whitewash” the sins and commissions of the Narendra Modi government in the past 10 years.

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