Budget 2018

Indian economy was in the hands of a ‘terrible doctor’ during UPA rule: Arun Jaitley

Jaitley said the country was named in the fragile five economies in the world when P Chidambaram was the finance minister.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the economy of the country was in the hands of a “terrible doctor” during the previous United Progressive Alliance government, PTI reported. Jaitley said that the country was named in the fragile five economies in the world when P Chidambaram was the finance minister of the country.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, the finance minister said that under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rule since 2014, the country had progressed in terms of economy and had gone from being in fragile five to the bright spot.

On February 4, Chidambaram had said that Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian was a “good doctor” but the National Democratic Alliance government had been a “terrible patient”. Referring to the Congress leader’s tweet, Jaitley said, “For those ten years, 2004-2014, you had a terrible doctor. And when you have a terrible doctor, even the healthiest of the patients are likely to disappear.”

“I do believe that some people can make very good comments at us because they write and speak with the right logic, but I am not so sure whether they make the best administrators,” he added.

On Chidambaram’s criticism of Jaitley’s decision to lower the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25%, the finance minister said it was the Congress leader who had first drafted a Direct Tax Code which suggested reducing the tax rate on businesses. Claiming that Chidambaram had changed his view on corporate tax because he was now in the Opposition, Jaitley asked the Congress, “What is the consistency of your stand on economic policy?”

The finance minister also claimed that the lack of job growth and the dismal outlook for agriculture presented in the Economic Survey for 2017-’18 were not problems created during the last four years. He said it implied the “unfinished task” left by 55 years of Congress rule.

Jaitley also said government expenditure exceeding fiscal deficit was the result of one month’s shortfall in Goods and Services Tax revenues for 2017-’18. He added that the Gross Domestic Product growth rate during United Progressive Alliance rule in 2012-13 was 5.3%, compared to 5.7% in the second quarter of 2017-’18.

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