New Delhi, February 8 : Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented a White Paper on the Indian Economy in the Lok Sabha, emphasizing the challenging state of the economy when the BJP-led government took office in 2014. The document revealed that the economy was in a fragile state with public finances in disarray, economic mismanagement, financial indiscipline, and widespread corruption.
The White Paper acknowledged the crisis situation at the time and outlined the significant responsibility the government had to gradually mend the economy and establish governance systems. Sitharaman explained that refraining from releasing a White Paper back then was a strategic decision to avoid creating a negative narrative that could shake confidence, including that of investors. The focus was on instilling hope, attracting investments, and garnering support for essential reforms.
The Finance Minister stated, “Our government believed in ‘nation-first’ and not in scoring political points.” The White Paper highlighted the government’s commitment to stabilizing and putting the economy on a path of recovery and growth, necessitating the disclosure of challenges inherited from the previous UPA government.
Sitharaman quoted her budget speech, stating, “Every challenge of the pre-2014 era was overcome through our economic management and our governance. These have placed the country on a resolute path of sustained high growth.”
The government’s intention to compare the economic performance of the Congress-led UPA government with that of the BJP-led NDA government was announced in the union budget presented on February 1. The White Paper aims to provide insights into the economic trajectory from 2014 to the present, drawing lessons from the mismanagement of previous years.
In her budget speech, Sitharaman highlighted the Modi government’s successful overcoming of the crisis in 2014, placing the economy on a sustainable growth path with all-round development. The Finance Minister announced that the White Paper would serve to assess the economic journey from 2014 to date.
The budget session, the last before the upcoming Lok Sabha polls expected in April-May, had initially been scheduled to conclude on February 9 but has been extended by a day. The White Paper is expected to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the economic challenges faced and the measures taken to stabilize and propel India’s growth.