Congress uses revised GDP data to defend UPA’s economic record

Congress uses revised GDP data to defend UPA’s economic record

The opposition party's attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is significant because the Congress has been repeatedly raising the issue of "mismanagement of the economy" and is keen on driving home the point in the campaign leading up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Narendra Modi government has sought to "clarify" something that is already known to downplay a sub-committee report that showed the UPA decade clocked a double-digit economic growth rate.

The government's clarification - along with a blog by minister Arun Jaitley that credited global tail winds and the legacy of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for the growth in the initial UPA years - was issued on a day the Congress claimed that "truth can not be suppressed forever". The complicated procedure of returns filings under GST was another example of "tax terrorism", he added.

The National Statistics Commission had set up the committee to recommend suitable measures to strengthen systems and processes for collection, collation and dissemination of these statistics with the possibility for improving timeliness.

"It is also a matter of record that during this period, 140 million people were lifted out of poverty".

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"Reference this morning's news report about NSC sub-committee's estimates of GDP growth series with 2011-12 base".

"Headline figures do not subvert the fact that Congress-led UPA rule was marked by reckless lending, macro-economic instability, high inflation, policy paralysis and highest corruption", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

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". "Now, when the data has come, it proves the dictum that truth can not be suppressed forever", he said. What is also clear is that the UPA's macroeconomic management was lax: pushing up the fiscal deficit to GDP from 2.7% of GDP in 2007-08 to 6.2% in the next, election year could be justified, at a stretch, by the global crisis, but not keeping it above 6% in two subsequent (not consecutive) years.

Fiscal deficit is budgeted at 3.3 per cent for 2018-19, Current Account Deficit was below 2 per cent in 2017-18 and the gross FDI inflow into India was at an all time high of United States dollars 61.9 billion, Patra added. Under the old series (2004-05), the expansion in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at factor cost was 9.48 per cent during 2006-07, when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister. The compound average annual growth rate over the UPA's 10 years was an impressive 8%. This fell to 7.39 per cent during its second term in 2009-14.

"... Post 2014, when the global economy was in slowdown mode, it was India and India alone which has been the fastest growing economy in the world for the last four years and has consistently overtaken China in the growth rate", Jaitley wrote. "Rupee's exchange rate went into a free fall during May-August 2013, declining nearly 25 per cent in 4 months", he tweeted. "But this government doesn't have them", he said. He also said the growth was accompanied by weak macros manifested in high fiscal and current account deficits, and high inflation.

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