The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government inherited a healthy economy but made it non-performing in 10 years, the Union finance ministry said in its white paper presented in Parliament on Thursday.

A white paper is an in-depth report on a topic that investigates the problem and suggests solutions.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government came to power at the Centre in May 2014 after a decade-long rule by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.

The white paper, presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, claimed that the Congress-led coalition’s leadership, “which seldom fails to take credit for the 1991 reforms, abandoned them after coming to power in 2004”.

The Modi government accused the United Progressive Alliance government of failing to facilitate economic activity. “It basked in the after-glory of the lagged effects of the reforms of the Vajpayee-led NDA government [in power till 2004] and benign global conditions and proceeded to exploit the resultant fast economic growth for narrow political purposes without much concern for long-term economic consequences,” the government alleged.

The document alleged that after the 2008 global financial crisis, the Manmohan Singh government “severely undermined the macroeconomic foundations” in its quest to maintain high economic growth.

Towards the end of the United Progressive Alliance’s second term, there was a “mountain of bad loans, a high fiscal deficit despite much of it being hidden, a high current account deficit, double-digit inflation for five years which hit the pockets of many Indians and membership of the club of ‘Fragile Five’ in 2013,” the government alleged.

Further, the white paper listed alleged corruption scandals that had rocked the United Progressive Alliance government. This list included alleged corruption cases relating to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the allocation of the 2G telecommunications spectrum and procurement of Augusta Westland helicopters.

The Narendra Modi government inherited a “fragile economy” in 2014 with public finances in bad shape, widespread corruption, economic mismanagement and financial indiscipline, the white paper argued.

The Indian economy’s rise since 2014 despite “unprecedented obstacles of external origin” such as the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical disturbances “is manifest in the trajectory of its GDP [gross domestic product] ranking,” the finance ministry claimed in its white paper.

“From being the 10th largest in 2014, India has surpassed many giants to become the fifth largest economy in 2023...and is slated to become the third largest by 2027 as per IMF projections,” it added.

On February 1, Sitharaman announced in her interim Budget speech that the Centre will present a white paper on the alleged mismanagement of the economy that happened prior to 2014.

Hours before the Union finance minister tabled the white paper in Parliament on Thursday, the Congress released a “black paper” on the Modi government.

The Congress alleged that since the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government came to power, the country’s economy had been devastated, unemployment had aggravated and the agriculture sector had been destroyed.

It also alleged that the Modi government had “committed grave injustices” against minorities and “abetted” crimes against women, The Indian Express reported.